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The Author's Capture at Vicksburg, Mat 3, 1863, while running the Eebel 

Batteries ; his Imprisonment at Vicksburg, Jackson, Atlanta. 

Richmond, and Salisbury; his Escape and perilous 

Journey of Four Hundred Miles to the 

Union Lines at EInoxvillb. 




ittl^ Illustrations. 





Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, 

By O. D. case & COMPANY, 

In tlio Clerk's OflBce of the District Court of the United States for the District of 








Most first boots eitlier are, or assume to be, written 
at tlie request of that apocliiyphal class known as 
Friends. Having a very limited acquaintance witb. 
that somewbat intangible portion of tbe community, 
I would state tbat tbis unpretending volume owes its 
unfortunate parturition to tbe urgent solicitation of my 
publishers, wbo, unsolicited, offered me sucb terms as 
a Gentleman of very slender income (bis valuable 
estates in Castile being entirely inconvertible in Wall 
Street) and somewbat expensive babits could ill afford 
to refuse. 

The contents of " Four Years in Secessia" are merely 
poor pieces of patch- work clumsily stitched together 
with a needle that grew very rusty in the long damp- 
ness of Rebel Prisons. The little labor on the book 
has been, under very adverse circumstances, irregularly 
and hurriedly performed, not extending beyond a 


fortniglit's duration, and this, tliougli no excuse, may 

be some reason for the poverty of its contents. 

K my readers are half as much wearied in its 

perusal as the author was in its preparation, he can 

only entreat them to remember the Spaniard's advice 

to men about to choose a wife : " Shut your eyes, and 

commend your soul to God." 

The Atjthok 

New Tore, May 1, 1865. 















His Anomalous Position. — A Ruralist's Idea of a Bohemian. — How the Name 
was Obtained. — Genesis and Purpose of the War Correspondent. — His Duty 
and Obhgatioa. — The DifSculty of his Task. — His Habits, Pecuharities, and 
Defects. — What he Requires of tlie Service. — His Just Claims . . 13 



Life in Jefferson City, Mo.— Effecf of the Sudden Change from Metropolitan 
Life. — A Contrast to the Glory of War. — A Romantic Soldier. — A Camp 
Picture. — The Original Bohemian Brigade 23 




Effects of Camp-Life. — Sentimental Reflections on War. — A Modern Penthesilea. — 
Woman's Military Influence Beautifully Exemplified. — The Rural Females of 
Missouri. — Their Unpoetic Appearance 21 



Unanticipated Attack. — Inexplicable Sensations. — Prosaic Revelation. — Our In- 
tense Suffering. — A Novel Remedy. — Extraordinary Ride through a Tempest- 
uous Night. — Finale of the Tragi-Comedy 33 


Conversion of a Fair Secessionist. — Disadvantage of Securing a Guard. — A Grand 
Mule Concert. — Sonorous Imitations of the Opera. — High-Art Jackassical 
Performances.— Terror Ezcited by the Unique Entertainment . . 38 




Brutality of Officers. — Shameful Treatment of a "Woman. — Change of Base. — A 
Model Missouri Hotel. — Resumption of the March. — Bohemian Philosophy. — 
Its Necessity in the Pield 42 



Visit to the Battle-Ground. — Its Appearance. — Cause of Sigel's Discomfiture. — 
Scenes on the Field. — Ghastly Spectacles. — The Sleeping Camp. — A Skyey 
Omen 46 



Charge of the Fremont Body-Guard. — Its Desperate Character. — The Heavy Loss. 
— Scene of the Engagement. — Description of the Battle. — Progress of the 
Ride.— FUght of the Foe.— After the Struggle 49 



The Return to Rolla. — A Ghastly Jest. — A Brace of Fair Bohemians. — The 
Discrediting Effect of Camp Attire. — A Night in a Barn. — Potency of an 
Army Pass 55 



The Feminine Secessionists of St. Louis. — Their Parrot-like Raving. — Their Re- 
semblance to Barnaby Rudge's Raven. — Harmlessness of Petticoated Traitors. 
— Sale of Rebel Property. — Curious Scene. — A Mysterious Article . . 61 



March from Fort Henry to the Field. — Troubles of the Correspondents. — Difficulty 
of Subsistence. — Courage of our Soldiers. — Examples of Sacrifice and Heroism. 
— Gallant Charge. — Amateur Sharpshooting. — Mortification of the Enemy 
after the Surrender. — Desperation of the Rebels. — Repudiation of the Five to 
One Boast. — Ghastly "Wounds. — Touching Incidents .... 66 



Extracts from my Note-Book. — Sensations of a Reasoning Man Under Fire. — A 
Novel in Brief. — A Faithless "Woman and a Sacrificed Loyer. — A Juvenile 


Hero. — Difficulty of Dying on tlie Field. — Ultra-professional Correspondents. 
Ludicrous Incidents of their Journalistic Devotion . . . . 78 



The Departure for the Rebel Stronghold. — Uncertainty of the Situation. — Doubts 
and Apprehensions. — Pleasant Discovery. — Bntliusiasm on Board the Flotilla. 
— Abortive Defenses of tlie Enemy. — Evidences of Excessive Orthodoxy. — 
Superstition and Swagger. — Pikes and Long Knives in Abundance . 87 



The Three Days' Fighting. — Desperate Struggle for the Possession of the Train. 
— Sigel's Heroism. — Tremendous Contest for the Guns. — Hand-to-Hand Com- 
bats. — An Epic of War. — Triumph of the Republic. — Retreat of tiie Rebels, 93 



Facts and Fancies from Pea Ridge. — The Preservative Power of Tobacco. — A 
Song-Book doing tlie Work of a Bible. — Mysterious Instance of Sympathy. 
— Another Fabian dei Franclii. — Painful Fate of a Union Lieutenant. — A 
Reckless Indianian. — A Magnanimous Rebel. — A Gallant Iowa Colonel, 103 



Aboriginal Outrages and Barbarities at Pea Ridge. — Minds (£ the Savages 
Poisoned by the Rebels. — Whisky and Gunpowder Stimulant. — The Indians 
Scalp J'riend and Foe Ahke. — Slaughter of the Red Men by their own 
Alhes 109 



Semi-Barbarism of the People. — Benton County as an Example. — Extent of the 
Conscription. — Modern Harpies in the Shape of Women. — The Loyal Senti- 
ment of the State. — Chivalrous Mode of its Suppression , . . 113 



A Weary Siege. — Inaneness of Existence on the FlotUla. — Monotony and Dreari- 
ness of the Scenes. — Melancholy Character of the Mighty River. — Out in the 
Night. — A Celestial Symbol. — A Canine Convert. — A Perplexed Correspond- 
ent, and Would-be-Bohemian. 117 




The Carondelet and Pittsburg Defying the Guns of Island No. 10. — Preparations 
for the Hazardous Enterprise. — Scenes on the Flag-Sliip. — Departure of the 
Pittsburg. — An Anxious Period. — The ArtQleiy of the Rebels and of Heaven 
— Thunder, Lightning, and Gunpowder. — Safe Passage of the Union Ves- 
sels 123 



A Mysterious Vessel astern. — Preparations for Battle on the Benton. — Prop- 
osition from the Enemy to Surrender. — Unconditional Terms asked. — The 
Rebel Prisoners and their Opinions. — Curious Scene. — Feminine Accom- 
paniments to a Siege 128 



'Desperate Determination of the South. — Confidence of the Enemy. — Cause of 
the Early Action. — The First Day's Fighting. — Fearful Struggle. — Intensity 
of the Excitement. — Recklessness of Life. — Panic-stricken Regiments. — Arri- 
val of General Buell. — The Second Day's Fighting. — Defeat of the Foe . 135 



Ravages of the Musquitos. — Their Secession Proclivities. — Battles between the 
Insects and Correspondents. — Anecdote of General Pope. — Discovery of an 
Unexpected Official 147 



A Profane Captain. — Piety of Commodore Foote. — Interruption of Religious 
Service. — Easter Sunday on the Flag-ship. — Horrible Persecutions of LTnionists 
in Tennessee and Arkansas. — A Loyal Man Crucified. — Cold-Blooded Mur- 
ders in the South 151 



Melancholy Suicide of a Slave. — Triumph of the American Eagle. — Reminiscence 
of John A. Murrell— His Decease a Loss to the Secession Cause . . 156 




A Beautiful Day. — Prodigality of Nature. — Assault of Gnats and Sand-Flies. — 
Ridiculous Adventures. — An Altered Physiognomy. — Saturnine Reflections. — 
A New Jeremiad 159 



Impressive Scene on the Flag-Ship. — Address of the Commodore. — Emotion of 
the Sailors. — Exciting Tug-Chase 164 



Unexpected Appearance of the Hostile Vessels. — Commencement of the Attack. 
— Character of the Enemy's Boats. — Warm Work on a Warm Day. — The Rebel 
Sharpshooters. — A Gallant Captain and Determined Lieutenant. — Explosion of 
a Rebel Ram. — A Paymaster acting as Gunner. — Incidents of the Fight. — 
Victory Decided in our Favor ........ 169 



A Gasconading Rebel. — The BrQhant Gunboat Fight. — The Vessels Engaged. — 
The Nautical Situation. — Commencement of the Action. — Union Rams Taking 
Part. — Increased Warmth of the Contest. — Sinking of the General Lovell. — 
Magnanimity of our Seamen. — Flight of the Southern Commodore. — Explosion 
of the Jejf. Thompson. — Harmony of Northerners and Southerners after the 
City's Occupation 179 



Its Object and Strength. — Cautious Progress. — Character of the Stream. — Des- 
peration of the Arkansans. — Progress of the Fleet. — The Engagement near 
St. Charles. — Position of the Hostile Fortifications. — Explosion of the Mound 
City. — Terrible Destruction by Steam. — Horrible Scenes of Suffering. — Inhu- 
manity and Barbarity of the Rebels. — Their Defeat and Punishment . 192 


Trip from Louisville to Frankfort. — The occupation of ±he Kentucky Capital by 


the Enemy. — Sudden Conversion of Romantic "Women to Loyalty. — The In- 
auguration of the Pseudo-Governor. — Sudden Exodus of the Usurpers ; their 
Strange Self-Delusion. — Bohemians in the Horse Market. — The Battle of Per- 
ryville. — A JournaUstic Rebel Colonel. — Sketch of John H. Morgan. . 201 



The Expedition up the Tazoo. — Unexpected Meeting c^ the Rebel Monster. — 
Her Engagement with the Union Vessels. — Their Discomfiture and Retreat. — 
Her Passage of the Union FlotQla. — Her Exposure to a Terrible Fire. — Ex- 
plosion on Board the Lancaster. — Casualties on both Sides. — Bohemian Re- 
flections on Runmng Batteries 213 



Expedition in Search of Cotton, Cattle, and Guerrillas. — Plantations along the 
Mississippi. — Anxiety of the Negroes for Freedom. — Sad Scenes on Shore. — 
An African Andromache. — A Miscegenated Southern Family . , 224 



Reflections on our Return to Freedom. — The Effect of Imprisonment. — Rapidity 
of Restoration to One's Normal Condition. — ^Running the Batteries of Yicks- 
burg. — Incident of the Undertaking. — Terrible Fire from the Rebel Strong- 
hold. — Complete Wreck of our Expedition. — Brilliant Prospects for Dying. — 
Adventm-es of the Bohemians. — Grotesque Appearance of the Prisoners, 229 



Consignment to a Mississippi Jail. — Repulsiveness of the Place. — Character of 
the Inmates. — Rebel Idea of Comfortable Quarters. — A Fragrant Spot. — 
Parole of the Captives. — Our Removal to the Court-House. — Courteous Treat- 
ment — Kindness of the Citizens. — Peculiarities of Union Men. — Miscompre- 
hension of the Enemy 240 



The Marble-Yard Prison. — Visit to the Appeal Office. — Kindness of the Editors. — 
Tremendous Excitement and Panic at the Mississippi Capital. — A Terrified and 
Fugacious Mayor. — The Mississippiau Office Preparing for an Exodus. — 
Curiosity Excited by the Yankees. — Southern Fondness for Discussion and 
Rhodomontade. — Our Continuous Inflictions along the Route. — Incidents of 
the Journey. — The Whitehall Street Prison. — A Pertinacious Hibernian. — 
Abusive Editorial in a Newspaper, and its Effects .... 247 

co:n"tei^ts. 9 



Arrival at Richmond. — Our Reception from the Union Officers. — Mistaken Idea 
about Human Endurance. — The First Shoclc in Prison. — Entomological Re- 
searches. — Sickness and Sentiment. — Violation of The Tribune Correspondents' 
Paroles — Character of the Rebel Commissioner. — Determination of the Enemy 
to Hold us to the End of the War 257 



Arrival and Release of Union Officers. — Therapeutic Power of the Fall of Vicks- 
burg. — Its Wholesome Effect on the Prisoners. — G-radual Resignation to Con- 
finement. — Means of Killing Time. — Journalistic Desire to Write, and the 
Impossibility of its Indulgence. — Exhibition of the Loyal Captives. — Summer 
Costumes. — Cruelty of our Keepers. — Petty Meanness of the Commandant. — 
The Drawing of Lots. — Horror of the Scene. — Barbarous Treatment of Citi- 
zens. — Consideration Shown the Officers. — Removal of The Tribune Corre- 
spondents 263 



Disappointment and Disgust in Prison Life. — The Union Officers as Servants and 
ScuUions. — Journalistic Cooking and its Trials. — The First Breakfast. — Hor- 
rors of the Culinary Art. — Interior Yiew of the Kitchen. — Grotesque and 
Mortifying Scenes. — Battles of the Saucepans and Skillets. — Complaint, 
Clamor, and Confusion 2'7'7 



Prison within a Prison. — Full Appreciation of Sterne's Starling. — Evil Destiny of 
The Tribune Correspondents. — One of our many Failures and its Result. — 
Interior View of a Rebel Cell. — The Rare Society we found there. — Glance at 
the Gross Corruption in Secessia. — Novel Means of making Confederate Cur- 
rency. — Horrors of Southern Dungeons 284 



Contrast between the Castle and Libby. — A Southern Bombastes. — Cruel Treat- 
ment of Prisoners. — Absurd Charges against Innocent Men. — The Prison a 
Regular Bastile. — Energetic and Enterprising Captives. — Difficulty of Obtain- 
ing Supplies Sent from the North. — Peculation and Plundering of the Chiv- 
alry. — Their Begging and Trading Proclivities.— Their Ridiculous Assumptions 
and Exposure. — Bohemian Arrivals. — Comparative Comfort of the Corre- 
spondents. — Rebel Anxiety to Purchase Treasury Notes. — Campaigning with 
the Small Pox . . . • 295 




Brief Account of his Antecedents. — His Attachment to the Union Cause. — His 
Betrayal. — His Cruel Treatment in Prison. — A Second Judas. — Conviction on 
Ealse Evidence. — His Wretched Condition. — The Closing Scene. — An Inhuman 
Detective. — Kevolting Spectacle at the GaUows 307 


Our Removal from Richmond to Salisbury. — Character of our Companions. — 
Troubles of Transportation. — Strange Scene and Sensation at Petersburg. — 
A.rrival at the North Carolina Prison. — Interior View of our Quarters. — A 
Heavy Blow for my Confrere. — The Horrors of Southern Captivity. — Difficulty 
of their Realization 313 



Great Influx of Prisoners at Salisbury. — Barbarity of the Enemy. — Intense 
SufiFering and Wholesale Murder of the Captives. — Pen Pictures of the 
Prison. — Agonizing Scenes. — Enlistment of our Soldiers in the Rebel Ser- 
vice. — Shuddering Strangeness of the Past. — The Secretary of War Respon- 
sible for the Sacrifice of Ten Thousand Lives 321 



Respect for Tunnels. — Their attractive and absorbing Power. — Tunneling at 
Castle Thunder. — Difficulty of their Construction, — The Libby Prison Enter- 
prise. — Uncertainty of their Completion, — Frequency of Excavations at Salis- 
bury. — Desires to obtain Subterranean Freedom. — Ideal Regrets . 333 



The Meaning of the Term. — Who the Muggers were. — Their Plan of Operation. 
— Character of their Victims. — Indifiference of the Authorities on the Subject. 
— Flogging of Northern Deserters. — Their Cruel Treatment. — Mugging in 
Richmond and Salisbury. — Its Reduction to a System. — Our Own Soldiers in 
the Business. — A VigUance Committee Proposed 339 



Constant Effort of Prisoners for Freedom. — Practicability versus Planning. — A 
Trio of Desperadoes. — Cause of their Extraordinary Gayety. — Their Remark- 
able Exodus 347 




Cause of Bushwhackers. — Eepulsiveness of the Custom. — Its Excuse. — Their 
Sufferings and Wrongs. — Collisions with Home-Guards. — Victories of Union 
Men. — Terror of their Name. — The Vendetta in the Mountains. — Virtues of 
the Southern Loyalists. — "War of Extermination. — A Fearful Avenger, 350 



Our Efforts Useless in the Salisbury Hospitals. — Bohemian Talent for Forgery. — 
Mode of our Exodus from the Penitentiary. — Sensations of Freedom. — Our 
First Night in a Barn. — A Long Fast. — A Rebel Officer Sound on the Main 
Question. — Commencement of the Journey toward Liberty. — Our First Two 
Nights' March. — Hunger, Cold, and Exhaustion. — Our Assistance from the 
Negroes 358 



The Third, Fourth, and Fifth Nights Out. — Missing the Road. — Extremely Cold 
"Weather. — Our Sufferings in a Barn. — The Slaves our Faithful Friends. — 
Torture of the Boot Revived. — Our Pursuit and Masterly Retreat. — Our Re- 
inforcement with Mules and Whisky. — Incidents along the Route. — Arrival 
in "Wilkes County.— Tlie Haven of Rest 369 



The Union Settlement in W'ilkea County. — Frequent Change of Base. — Christmas 
in a Barn. — Ghostly Marches. — Alarms and Adventures in Yadl^in County. — 
A Bohemian Model Artist. — An Eventful Night. — Storm and Sentiment. — 
Love-Making in a Tempest. — Parting with our Loyal Friends. — Their Devo- 
tion and Regret. — Battles between Unionists and Rebel Home-Guards. — In- 
extinguishable Fidelity of the People 317 



Accession of Escaped Prisoners. — Resumption of our Journey. — Excessive 
Roughness of the Route. — Character of North Carolina Roads. — Flanking of 
Wilkesboro'. — Losing our Way. — Crossing the Yadkin. — Skeptical Women. — 
Interview with Bushwhackers. — ConsoHng Counsel. — Passage of the Bhie 
Ridge. — Hard March over the Mountains. — Narrow Escape from Union 
Rifles. — Contradictory Reports about our Liues 386 


Traveling in that Region. — Passage of the Piney and Stone Mountains. — Cross- 



ing the Watauga Eiver. — Invitation to a Frolic. — Peculiar Reason for our Dec- 
lination. — Recklessness Engendered by our Situation. — Meeting with Dan 
Ellis, the Pilot, and his Party. — His Kindness and Generosity. — The Effect 
of Apple Brandy. — Mysterious Disappearance of a Bohemian. — Severe March- 
ing. — Strain on the Nervous System. — Reports of tlie Rebels in our Vicinity. 
— A Valuable Steed and his Fate. — Anxiety of our Guides to Meet the 
Enemy 399 



Sketch of his Life and Career. — His Uncompromising Loyalty. — Efforts to Sup- 
press Him. — His Success as a Pilot. — Mode of Joining his Expeditions. — His 
Adventures and Narrow Escapes. — His Attachment to his Carbine. — His 
Opinion of the Confederacy. — A Rebel Officer's Views of his Usefulness to 
the Union Cause • . . 409 



Pursuit of the Enemy. — Alarm and Separation of our Party. — Our Fair. Guide. — 
Appearances and Antecedents. — Our Continued March. — Coufiscation of 
Horses. — Our Last Night Out. — Sensations on Approaching the Union Lines. 
— Chagrin of the Rebels at our Escape. — Their Absurd Stories about the 
Departed Bohemians . . . . • 417 



The Popular Idea of the South.— Its Fallaciousness. — Character of the South- 
erners. — Their Best Society. — Slavery and its Pernicious Influence. — The 
Real Cause of the Rebellion. — The Great Revolution in Public Opiuion. — Dis- 
graceful History of the Past. — Our National Atonement . . . 432 



Its Undeveloped Resources. — Its Wealthy Planters and the Northern Farmers. — 
Slave Labor and Its Defects. — The Blighting Effect of the Peculiar Institu- 
tion. — Contrast between the Free and Slave States. — Occupation of Secessia 
by the Yankees. — The Changes Consequent thereupon. — The Much-Vexed 
Negro Question. — The Rights of the Freedmen . . . . . 441 





His Anomalous Position. — A Ruralist's Idea of a Bohemian. — Hq-w the Name 
was obtained. — Genesis and Purpose of the War Correspondent. — His Duty 
and Obh'gation. — The DifQculty of his Task. — His Habits, Peculiarities, and 
Defects. — Wliat he requires of the Service. — His Just Claims, &c. 

DuEHN-G tlie few days I liave passed in tlie Free States 
since the breaking out of the Rebellion, I have been so 
often questioned about the province, purpose, and habits 
of a War Correspondent, that I deem it well, in the initial 
chapter of this volume, to state what manner of animal he 
is, and what are his peculiarities. 

That the War Correspondent is a hybrid, neither a 
soldier nor a citizen ; with the Army, but not of it ; is 
present at battles, and often participating in them, yet 
without any rank or recognized existence, has mystified 
not a few, and rendered his position as anomalous as un- 

"Do you belong to the Army?" inquired a bumpkin, 
riding up beside myself and a couple of journalistic com- 
panions, as we were moving toward Fayetteville during 


the Bragg-Buell campaign in Kentucky, in the autumn 
of 1862. ' ' Yes, ' ' was the answer. ' ' Are you soldiers V ' 
"No." " Are you officers ?" "No." " Are you sutlers ?" 
"No." "What are you, then?" " War Correspondents." 
"Oh, that's what you are, is it?" and after this comment 
on our response, he seemed lost in reflection the most pro- 
found. Fully a minute must have passed, when his face 
brightened, and he seemed to have solved some mental 
problem. "Oh, well, boys, you're all right. War 
Correspondents, eh? Why, they're the fellows that 
fought in the Revolution !" 

Droll idea that of the Bohemians, as they have been 
christened, from their nomadic, careless, half-literary, 
half-vagabondish life; but not much more so than far 
more intelligent persons entertain of them. What they 
are, and what they do, I will endeavor to explain. 

The War Correspondent is the outgrowth of a very 
modern civilization ; though Xenophon and Julius Caesar 
were early examples of the profession. They, however, 
told the story of their own deeds, and the nineteenth- 
century Bohemians narrate the acts of others ; make 
their name and fame without themselves gaining any 

They are the outgrowth of the great and constantly 
augmenting power of the Press, and were first fully 
developed and their influence felt during the Crimean 
contest. There were War Correspondents before that 
day: in the Napoleonic struggle for universal domina- 
tion, and in our own little affair, as it now appears, with 
Mexico ; but, until the time mentioned, it had not become 
a regular and recognized department of military-civic life. 


Since the first gun discliarged at Fort Sumter awoke the 
American world to arms, War Correspondence on this 
side of the Atlantic has been as much an avocation as 
practising law or selling dry goods. Eyery newspaper, 
of prominence in the metropolitan cities, has had its Corre- 
spondents in the field and with the Nayy. No army in 
the East or West but has had a journalistic representa- 
tiye. ISTo expedition of importance has set out without 
its writing medium between it and 'New York, Phila- 
delphia, Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis. 

The War Correspondent is the proper and natural 
medium between the Army and N^ayy and the people at 
home, and ought to be, and is generally, the purest, be- 
cause the only unprejudiced medium between the military 
and ciyil phases of existence. He only has, as a general 
thing — and there should be no exceptions — no friends to 
reward, and no foes to punish. He is at his post to relate 
what he sees ; to applaud yalor and merit whereyer 
found ; to point out abuses and blunders that would not 
otherwise be reached, saye through the endless duration 
of military inyestigations and courts-martial. His duty is 
to illustrate the situation so far as is prudent ; to describe 
the movements, actions, and combinations of the forces ; 
in a word, to photograph the life and spirit of the com- 
batants for the benefit of the great Public, united to them 
by blood and sympathy, and who thrill and sufifer with 
the gallant warriors, and mourn oyer and honor the heroic 

Such being the duty and obligation — and it should be 
a solemn one — of the Correspondent, he has as much place 
and fitness in the field as the Commander-in-Chief ; and is 


as mucli entitled to consideration. That lie is not what 
he should he often, is true of him, as it is of every other 
class ; and that many of his profession have, by unworthy 
conduct, reflected discredit upon its members, is equally 
true. The misfortune is, that the unworthy, by their 
assurance, carelessness, and lack of principle, give such 
false impressions of the entu'e tribe, that I marvel not a 
most wholesome jprejudice exists against them on the part 
of many officers. 

The ill-starred Bohemian has a most delicate and difficult 
task to perform. He must do his duty, and yet offend no 
one. He must praise, but not censure. He must weave 
chaplets of roses without thorns for the brows of vanity, 
and applaud modest merit withoiit wounding j)ompous 
conceit. Every thing is expected of him — impossibilities 
and virtues more than human. Few give him commend- 
ation ; yet many are willing to denounce him. What he 
does well passes in silence ; what he does ill is blazoned 
to his shame. 

War Correspondence is a most thankless office. The 
Correspondent may do, and dare, and suffer ; but who 
yields him credit ? If he die in the service by disease or 
casualty, it is thought and declared by many that he had 
no business there. The officers frequentl}^ dislike him, 
because they have not received what they conceive to be 
their meed of praise ; and the people do not appreciate 
him. So, on the whole, he is always between Sylla and 
Charj^bdis, and never avoids one without encountering 
the other. 

No disposition have I to laud my profession ; but I do 
think its members are unkindly and ungratefully treated. 


I have known many of tliem intimately, of course ; -and 
wliile I have been called to blush for some, I can testify 
to the high and noble qualities of more. 

As a class they are brave, loyal, talented, and honorable 
gentlemen ; a little too prone, perhaps, to recklessness of 
conduct and statement, and unduly sensitive about their 
own dignity and the importance of the Press. They believe 
implicitly in the aphorism : Cedant arma togce^ and do not- 
always understand that the customs of Peace are incom- 
patible with the exigencies of War. Yet, in the main, 
they perform their duty conscientiously, and deserve more 
kindly of the Army, the Navy, and the general Public, than 
they receive. 

The worst feature of their profession is — and they deplore 
it as much as any one — they are compelled, from the great 
competition in respect to news, to write up their accounts 
so rapidly, and forward them so early, that correctness of 
statement and excellence of style are often ^Drecluded. 
When they write their letters, as I have seen them, in the 
midst of action ; on their knee and upon the ground ; in 
crowded railway cars and on thronged transports ; under 
every variety of adverse circumstance, I have wondered, 
and still wonder, at their fluency, propriety, and exactness. 
They certainly accomplish marvels, considering their sur- 
roundings and facilities, and at least suggest what they 
might do if leisure and opportunity were given them. 

The Correspondents have figured in the casualties again 
and again ; have been killed, and wounded, and captured ; 
have, perhaps, had quite their share of the accidents of 
war. Yet, on the whole, they have been rather fortunate, 
for they go so recklessly hither and thither on the march 


and in action, wherever their humor or fancy prompts, 
that it seems strange a larger number have not lost life, 
limb, and freedom. 

They have splendid opportunities for observation, being 
a privileged body, under no orders, and consequently at 
liberty to roam when and where they please. They have 
probably seen more of the romance of the War than any 
other class of men in the Army — much of which they have 
not given to the public, and which they cannot give con- 
veniently or prudently until the struggle is over. 

They usually enter some officer' s mess, on taldng the 
field ; have their own horses ; pay their proportion of the 
expenses ; and live exactly as the officers do, except that 
they are not subject to orders. During a battle they can 
go where they list — to the skirmish line or to the rear ; to 
the right or left wing ; with the infantry or artillery. 

If they have any fondness — and many of them have — 
for fighting, they can always be accommodated. I have 
more than once seen them in the field, musket in hand, 
and frequently trying their skill as sharpshooters. They 
very often act as voluntary aides on the staff of General 
Officers, and have, in numerous instances, played a con- 
spicuous and important part in engagements. They have 
again and again joined hazardous expeditions for which 
volunteers have been called ; have gone on perilous raids 
and scouts ; run batteries, and taken risks purely from a 
love of adventure — to have the experience — which is a very 
natural desire with the poetico-philosophic temperament. 
They have done a number of what many would call very 
foolish and reckless, though certainly courageous, acts — 
.all the more courageous because they had no inducement 


of glory, and would not at all have been honored as an 
officer or a soldier would if they had fallen, as they some- 
times have, in what would he considered obedience to a 
freak or feeling, instead of a conviction of duty. 

" Why do they not enter the service regularly ?" I pre- 
sume has been often asked, ' ' and so do some good 1' ' They 
perform their part as Correspondents, would be a fair an- 
swer. They do good, though in a different way, just as 
much as the Captain of a battery, or the Lieutenant of 
cavalry, or the Major of an infantry regiment does. They 
are, in my judgment, as much a portion of the Army or 
!N"avy as any of the officers of the Army or Navy, and 
render perchance as essential, though less interested and 
heralded, service. 

Moreover, I suspect the Bohemians, from a certain im- 
patience of restraint and a Shelley-like hatred of obedience, 
are often opposed to entering the ranks or accepting a 
commission. They want more freedom than a regular 
connection with the Army or Navy gives them ; but that 
such fantastic scruples are not infrequently removed is 
shown by the number who have entered both branches of 
the service. 

The profession of War Correspondence has, it seems to 
me, declined somewhat during the past two years. Or it 
may be that I see no more the names of those who were 
in the field when I passed out of it into a Rebel Prison, 
and fancy the new men inferior to the old campaigners 
because I do not know them. This supposition is quite 
probable, and I am very willing it should be regarded as 
the cause of the apparent decadence. 

One thing is certain, however. There has been so much 


inharmony between tlie Officers and Correspondents, so 
many unpleasant jarrings and misunderstandings, that 
most of tlie gentlemen who "were in the field, when I had 
any knowledge of it, have resigned their positions and 
taken new ones. There are some of my retired intimates 
who insist that a gentleman cannot be a Correspondent 
without detracting from Ms dignity, or abrogating a por- 
tion of his proper pride. I have not found it so in the 
Past ; I trust I shall not in the Future. I am aware there 
are ofiicers — some of very high standing — who are ab- 
surdly and causelessly prejudiced against the Bohemians ; 
but I cannot perceive why the two should not be en rap- 
port, and administer to each other' s advantage. 

That the Correspondent ought to have some fixed and 
recognized position in the Army and Navy, or be expelled 
from both, there can be little question. There is no middle 
ground. Either he has full right there, or he has not. 
Then recognize or remove him. He is always in the field, 
and always will be ; but he is really regarded, so far as 
the Regulations go, as a kind of camp-follower or hanger- 
on. Our readers remember, no doubt, the trouble that 
occurred between General Halleck and the Bohemians 
before Corinth in the summer of 1862, which seemed very 
unwise and unnecessary on that officer' s part, and which, 
I am glad to say, has never been repeated. 

If the Correspondent had a defined position, it would 
be far more agreeable to him ; for, however well he may 
be treated, it is rather unpleasant to know that he is, to a 
certain extent, merely tolerated. The Bohemians with 
whom I have associated have always been politely re- 
ceived by the officers, often courted and flattered; 


"but still that does not remove the objection of wliicli I 
have complained. Accept them entirely, or suppress 
them ntterly. They have complete right there, as I 
have said ; hnt their right must be established before the 
genuine gentlemen of the profession can feel altogether at 
one with themselves and perfectly at their ease. 

The Bohemians have faults not a few, as has been 
stated ; but they are the best abused class of which I have 
any knowledge. They are too much inclined to publish 
their information before prudence and patriotism permit ; 
but that is the fault of their employers, and ought to be 
wholly discouraged. The man who can forget the duty 
he owes his country in his desire to serve the journal he 
represents, ought to be disgraced and punished. 

The Bohemians generally give the facts about as they 
are, and to few of their letters from the field are excep- 
tions taken unless by those ofiicers — alas, how many ! — • 
who insist that their company, regiment, brigade or divi- 
sion, did all the fighting, and saved the fortunes of the 

It is well known to all veteran campaigners that every 
soldier and commander has a different story to tell, but 
each regards it as his religious obligation to praise his 
own company or corps, at the expense of all others. 
Such jealousy, envy, and heart-burning as are in the ser- 
vice, are painful to any and every true patriot, and prove 
that, after all that has been said, " Our Special" or " Our 
Own" is more trustworthy, and has less motive for mis- 
representation than any other individual on land or sea. 

We should look lenientl}?" on the Bohemian, and will, I 
apprehend, when we reflect how extremely difiicult his 


duty is, and how utterly impossible it is to give general 
satisfaction. Let us yield him some credit, if not for 
what he does, for what he refrains from doing ; and if we 
look into his life and avocation, we will find he is far 
more sinned against than sinning, and less a journalist 
than a patriot ; that he undergoes hardship, and exposes 
himself to dangers because he is earnest and loyal, and 
truly devoted to our great and glorious cause. 




Life in Jefferson City, Mo. — Effect of the Sudden Changes from MetropoHtan 
Life. — A Contrast to the Glory of War. — A Romantic Soldier. — A Camp 
Picture. — The Original Bohemian Brigade. 

The Fremont campaign was the first in whicli I fairly 
took the field, and, consequently, many things impressed 
me then, that, later in the War, would not have aflected 
me at all. 

The prominent features of that campaign have passed 
into history, and would not bear repetition here. There- 
fore I shall merely give my personal impressions and ob- 
servations when I reached Jefierson City, early in Sep- 
tember, 1861, fresh from the pursuits of peace and the 
comforts of metropolitan life. 

I arrived at the capital of Missouri some weeks before 
Greneral Fremont quitted St. Louis, when Jefi". C. Davis, 
then Colonel, commanded the post. There was very little 
doing there then in the military way, and very sudden 
transplanting to that rude frontier town made me merely 
vegetate in that most uncongenial atmosphere. 

I put up at a miserable hotel, and for a fortnight I was 
so lonely and wretched, that, if there had been an agree- 
able woman in the place, I should have fallen in love with 
her from sheer desperation. 

Safe enoiigh was I, however, in that particular. There 
were no women of any kind, not to speak of lovable ones, 


visible in the streets, tlirongh wliich. I sauntered listlessly 
and gloomily, wondering -when my brotlier Bohemians, 
whom I had left in St. Louis, would make their a^jpear- 
ance at the dreary capital. 

I had no books with me, and could get none in the town 
worth reading. I did not know how to pass tlie hours. 
I was extremely miserable. I am not ashamed to confess 
it now — I was home-sick ; and, if it had not been for 
pride, I should have resigned my position of War Corre- 
spondent, and hurried back to peaceful avocations and 
metropolitan life, with a keener appreciation than I had 
ever known before. 

Having little to occupy me, I was a great observer, and 
grew a trifle sentimental, perhaps, as indolent and unhappy 
persons usually do. 

One saw just then much of "the pomp and circum- 
stance of glorious war." AVhile cavalry companies were 
constantly dashing through the streets, regiments march- 
ing to the inspiring strains of martial music, officers 
hurrying to and fro on prancing steeds, artillery rumbling 
along, bugle-notes and drum-rolls rising from the adja- 
cent camps, a funeral cortege passed my window. 

A rude car contained a coffin, enveloped in the Ameri- 
can colors ; a squad of soldiers followed, with reversed 
arms ; a bugle played a mournful dirge ; but no one 
noticed the sad procession. All had too much of life to 
care for the dead. 

No one paused to think of the poor fellow in the coffin, 
who sickened and died afar from home and friends, in a 
military hospital. 

No kind sister had spoken comfort to him ; no mother's 


iand had smoothed his pillow ; no nearer and dearer 
friend — kindred only in heart — had bathed his brow or 
moistened his fevered lips, or received his last word, or 
sigh, or kiss. 

He had not even had the consolation of dying in battle, 
poor fellow ! Disease had struck him down ; but his 
death was not therefore less glorious. 

Happy soldier ! his troubles were over. He had 
suffered, and was at rest. Nor care, nor pain, nor strife 
could reach him evermore. 

No one noticed the funeral cortege, I have said. 

Yes, there was one. 

A young man stood on the sidewalk, with head un- 
covered, his face beautiful with sympathy, and his eye 
moist with pity and with love. 

Men were not all careless and selfish, even there. 

He who pitied and who felt, whate'er his creed or 
station, must have been, in the largest sense, a Christian 
and a gentleman. 

* * -Sfr * 

One night, as I was at the railway depot, I observed a 
young man, with an unusually intelligent and comely 
face, standing sentry, in the uniform of a private. 

I had rarely seen such a face in the ranks, and I 
stopped a minute near him, gazing at the stars. 

"A beautiful night this," he said. "External nature 
is charming, but human nature is ever melancholy. How 
calm and beautiful the stars are ! They seem silently to 
rebuke the scene of arms on which they gaze." 

My impression of his superiority to his station was 


Few private soldiers think or talk as he had done ; and 
at once we fell into conversation, which continued for an 

I learned from him — for he at once unbosomed himself 
— ^that he had been in love with a beautiful girl, the only 
daughter of a wealthy merchant of Cincinnati, and been 
affianced to her. 

During three months' absence in the East, she had been 
flirting desperately with another young man, and my 
soldier-friend, learning, on his return, that the two were 
engaged, concluded to call on her no more. 

The girl wrote to him, and he answered, informing her 
of what he had heard. She acknowledged the truth, but 
declared her affair with his rival merely a flirtation ; that 
she loved the youth she addressed, and never could love 
any one else. 

This was not satisfactory. The enamored youth was 
wretched and desperate, and, declaring all women false, 
volunteered as a private, and went to Missouri. 

He informed me that, but for the war, he would have 
committed suicide ; that he was anxious to fall in the first 
charge, for life had for him no further charms. 

I smiled at his infatuation, and told him that nearly all 
women were fickle; that his "Louisa" was less so, pro- 
bably, than most of her sex ; that he should have more 
philosophy than to think of dying for a silly girl, and 
that he should congratulate himself on his escape from 

He thought me jesting, at first, and then wondered how 
one at my age — I was far younger than now — had become 
80 cynical. 



" Through observation and reason," I answered; and, 
assuring him he would soon forget "Louisa," and fancy 
he loyed some other woman, bade him good-night. 

He vowed I was mistaken ; that I would hear of his 
death in his first battle. 

I never did. 

He will go through the war unhurt, no doubt, and live 
long enough after to laugh at his boyish passion, and 
experience, perhaps, that Love, as young hearts imagine 
and poets paint it, is a myth that Reason immediately 

About the 1st of October we went into camp, and on 
the evening of the 4th, all was activity, and the scene 
was quite picturesque. 

The sky was dark with clouds, and the lightning in the 
southern horizon, and the low-muttering thunder, blend- 
ing with the neigh of horses, the rattling of sabres trail- 
ing on the ground, the ' ' good-by' ' of ofiicers, as they 
rode off to join their commands, already in advance, the 
hoarse cry of the artillerymen and teamsters, the music- 
swell of the ISTational bands, coming in waves over the 
slopes and through the trees, with the illuminated tents, 
the camp-fires reddening the oaks and beeches — all gave a 
strange but attractive wildness to the m^zzotinto land- 
scape before our eyes. 

With all its monotony, all its painful suggestions, there 
is a kind of charm in camp-life — in its freedom from ordi- 
nary restraint, its out-door existence, its easy, reckless 
tone, its devil-may-care indifference, and utter disregard 
of the formal barbarians the enlightened world calls 
" Society." 


"The Bohemian Brigade" was tlie name the little corps 
of army correspondents and artists that soon assembled 
at Jefferson City had received. They were only seven or 
eight in number : Albert D. Richardson, of the New York 
Tribune, Thomas W. Knox, of the Herald, Franc B. 
Wilkie, of the Times, Richard T. Colburn, of the World, 
Joseph B, McCuUagh, of the Cincinnati Commercial, 
Geo. W. Beaman, of the St. Louis Democrat, Henri 
Lovie, artist for Frank Leslie, and Alex. A. Simplot, for 
Harper- s Weekly ; with several other scribblers and 
sketchers, who were there for a few days, but grew tired 
or disgusted, and did not accompany our exjoedition to 
the South- West. 

Of course, we had considerable leisure, and amused 
ourselves as best we could, in the absence of books, 
which were very scarce. We smoked pipes, played 
whist, discussed Poetry, Metaphysics, Art, the Opera, 
Women, the World, the War and its future, and various 
themes on which we then could merely speculate. Most 
■of our Brigade were bachelors — unless Michelet's idea of 
bachelordom, as represented in "L' Am our," be correct 
— and enthusiastic members of the anti-matrimonial school 
of philosophy. 

The unwedded bore camp-life resignedly and cheer- 
fully ; but the Benedicks seemed delighted with it, 
because, as the most confirmed celibates declared, they 
then had an excuse for absenting themselves from their 
domestic hearths, and, to use that exquisitely satirical 
phrase, the "blessings of connubial life." 




Effects of Camp-Life. — Sentimental Reflections on "War. — A Modern Penthesilea. 
— "Woman's Military Influence Beautifully Exemplified. — The Rural Females of 
Missouri. — Their Unpoetic Appearance. 

I]sr tlie early days of October, 1861, Fremont's army 
"began to move from Missouri' s capital, for the purpose of 
intercepting, if possible, and certainly of giving battle to, 
Price's forces, wlio bad from some mysterious cause been 
allowed to take Lexington, and tlien retreat southward 
without opposition or hindrance. Whose the fault was, 
I will not here attempt to show. I will simply accom- 
pan}^ Fremont to Springfield, describing such noteworthy 
incidents of the camp and march as have not already 
become familiar to the general reader. 

When the correspondent of the Herald and myself 
reached Syracuse, Mo., about the 13th or 14th of October, 
I was becoming accustomed to camp-life, though I could 
hardly say I liked it, nor did I believe I ever should. 

It was certainly a change, and on that account I sought 
it. It was very different from existence at the Fifth 
Avenue or Metropolitan — about as different as a transfer 
from Paris to Canton, or from the equator to the north 
pole. I had not expected to find agreeableness in camp- 
life, but rather its opposite ; and therefore I was not to 
be disappointed. 


Residence in camp has a decided effect in removing the 
romantic idea of War, which, "by the by, I have ever 
regarded as the most prosaic and nnattractive of actual- 
ities . No spirit of poesy, no "breath of sentiment enters 
into War; no aesthetic principle animates it. War bristles 
with facts — is terribly real, repulsively practical. 

War may be beautiful on the historian's page, and 
through the idealization of time and distance ; but to the 
spectator or the actor it is divested of its charms, and 
becomes a reign of horrors and a civilized monstrosity. 
And yet it has its fascinations, as drunkenness, licejitious- 
ness, murder, journalism, and the stage have theirs. 

What is War, after all, but scientific assassination, 
throat-cutting by rule, causing misery and vice, and pain 
and death by j)rescribed forms 1 It seems high time War 
had ceased to be. It is a palpable anachronism, and 3^et 
it continues, and will until the mental millennium arrives ; 
until this sphere is spiritualized, and mankind have grown 

So I thought then ; but my duty was to write of, not 
against. War; and, stretched on the earth beside my tent, 
in the shade, on a warm, bright, beautiful, day, full of the 
loveliness of October, I proceeded to discharge my jour- 
nalistic obligations as best I could, reserving ni}^ senti- 
mental opinions about War for the private ears of my 
sentimental friends. 

A great deal of disharmony and trouble occurred about 
that time in a Missouri cavahy regiment, which threat- 
ened tlien to, and eventually did, break it up completely. 
About the 1st of October, the commander liad placed a 
number of the inferior officers under arrest at Tipton, and 


a detacliment at Jefferson refused to obey Ms orders, and 
were insubordinate because they Ayere not armed' Much 
of this trouble was reported to have arisen on account of 
the interference of the wife of the Colonel with the affairs 
of the regiment, in which she took the most lively in- 

I was told she threatened to horsewhip some of the 
refractory officers, drew revolvers upon others, and 
adopted the most masculine measures to restore order out 
of chaos. Of course, a woman's interference was resent- 
ed by the officers, who murmured loudly against petticoat 
domination, and were extremely anxious to get rid of her. 
The Madame, however, would not be gotten rid of, and 
continued to play the part of Penthesilea with a degree 
of boldness and perseverance which, in the days of the 
Amazons, would have made her their queen. 

She bore dispatches, rode through storm and tempest, 
faced curses and opposition, met insult with maledictions 
and menaces, and evinced an energy, a resolution, and a 
courage, that rendered it a pity sue was not born of the 
opposite sex. 

Notwithstanding her feminine gendership, she was said 
by those who knew her to be most masculine in character, 
and that she would be very effective in leading a cavalry 
charge, or attacking a death-dealing battery. From all 
accounts, she seemed unfortunate in her genesis — to have 
been created physically a woman and mentally a man. 

The virago finally demoralized the regiment, caused its 
disbandment, and her husband's removal from the army. 

She had her way ; but she ruined her liege-lord, who, 
the last I heard of him, had taken to superlative potations 


and the exliibition of seyen-legged calves and Irish giants, 
still accompanied, and haunted, and tortiired by the pur- 
suing jSTemesis of his life, the precious friend whom we 
have honored with the fragment of a chapter. 

After my arrival in the rural regions of Missouri, and 
my association with the army, I often wondered how men 
fond of women managed to endure ; indeed, I, who had 
alwaj's regarded the softer sex as works of art — and are 
they not such ? — from the level of cold criticism or pure 
gesthetics have been compelled to commiserate, though 
I could not sympathize with, those countless amorous 

Fine women did not appear indigenous to the disloyal 
soil of Missouri. 

They were in the rough, as sculptors phrase it ; lack- 
ing the refining chisel of Art and Culture to fashion them 
into loveliness. 

A lover of the beautiful looked in vain for the classic 
features, the spiritual expression, the soul-reflecting eye, 
the charming symmetry, the voluptuous proportions, the 
elegant drapery, the delightful but airy nothings that 
appeal to the Imagination more than the Sense. 

In their stead, he saw brown and brawnj^ women, that 
offended his taste, and chilled his gallantrj^ ; that re- 
pressed his chivalrous sentiment, and falsified his mem- 
ories of the blue-eyed "Belles" and hazel-haired 
"Heroes" he had met, and made them seem the angels 
of a dreamy Past. 




Unanticipated Attack. — Inexplicable Sensations. — Prosaic Eevelation. — Our In- 
tense Suffering. — A Novel Remedy. — Extraordinary Eide througli a Tempes- 
tuous Night. — Finale of the Tragi-Comedy. 

Until I began to follow the camp, I had never khown^ 
save Iby anricnlar evidence, of those nnpoetical insects 
known as fleas; l^nt one night in Syracuse, Mo., "our 
mess" experienced the cruelty and savageness of the 
diminutive foes of man, to our bodies' extremest dis- 

We were all lounging in the tent, reading, undreaming 
of enemies of any kind, when we all hecame restless, 
and the interest of our books began seriously to di- 

There were various manual applications to various 
parts of the body, multifarious shiftings of position, ac- 
companied with emphatic expletives that sounded mar- 
velously like oaths. 

"What is the matter?" was asked by one of us of 
another. "What renders you so uneasy?" 

" Heaven knows !" was the answer ; "but I itch like 

"My body seems on fire," observed one. 

"I wonder," said another, "if I have contracted a 
loathsome disease !" 

"Confound it! what ails me?" 


"And me — and me — and mel" was eclioed from my 

One hand Ibecame insufficient to allaj^ tlie irritation 
of our corporeality. Botli hands "became requisite to 
the taslv, and our volumes were necessarily laid aside. 

No one yet appeared aware of the cause of his suffer- 
ing. If we were not all in Tophet, no one could deny 
we had gone to the old Scratch. We seemed to "be 
laboring under an uncontrollable nervous complaint. 
We threw our hands about wildly. We seized our 
flesh rudely, and rubbed our clothes until they nearly 
ignited from friction. 

One of the quartette could stand it no longer. He 
threw off his coat and vest spasmodically, and even his 
Tinder garments, and solemnly exclaimed — 

" Flee from the wrath to come !" 

The mystery was explained— the enigma solved. 

Tlie martyr's person was covered with small black 
spots, that disappeared and reappeared in the same 

To be practically expressive, he was covered with fleas. 

The rest of us followed his example, and converted 
ourselves into model artists. 

We were all covered with fleas. 

Fleas were everywhere. Tent, straw, books, blan- 
kets, valises, saddles, swarmed with them. 

The air scintillated with their blackness. 

We rushed out of the tent. 

They were there in myriads. 

Tlie moonlight fell in checkered beams through their 
innumerable sMppings. 


They made a terrible charge, as of a forlorn hope, and 
drove us back. 

We roared with anger and with pain, and loud cnrses 
made the atmosphere assume a violet hue. 

Three of the flea-besieged caught up canteens of 
whisky and brandy, and poured the contents over their 
persons and down their throats ; scratching meanwhile 
like a thousand cats of the Thomas persuasion, and 
leaping about like dancing dervises. 

The more the fleas bit, the more the victims drank; 
and I, having no taste for liquor, began to envy them, 
as, in their increasing intoxication, they seemed to enjoy 
themselves after a sardonic fashion. 

The fleas redoubled their ferocity on me, and I surren- 
dered at discretion ; and at last became resigned to their 
attacks, until, a few minutes after, a storm that had been 
gathering burst with fierce lightning, heavy thunder, and 
torrents of rain. 

A happy idea seized me. 

I caught up my saddle and bridle, and placed them on 
my sable steed "Festus," which stood neighing to the 
tempest, a few feet from the camp. 

I mounted the fleet-footed horse, and, nude as the 
Apollo Belvidere, cried " go " to the restive animal ; 
and off we sped, to the amazement of the sentinels, 
through the darkness and the storm. 

Every few moments the lightning blazed around us 
with a lurid sheen, as we went like the wind through 
the tempestuous night. 

"Festus" enjoyed it, as did his rider; and six swift- 
speeding miles were passed ere I drew the rein upon the 


neck of tlie panting Ibeast, covered witli wMte flecks of 

I paused, and felt that the fleas had been left behind. 

The pelting rain and rushing blast had been too much 
for them ; while the exercise had made my attireless body 
glow into a pleasant warmth. 

"Festus" galloped back, and soon I was in the tent, 
rolled so closely in a blanket that no new attack of the 
fleas could reach me. 

My companions, overcome with their exertions, suffer- 
ings, and potations, had lain down ; but the fleas were 
still upon them, and they rolled and tossed more than 
a rural tragedian in the tent scene of " Richard the 

They were asleep, and yet they moaned piteously, and 
scratched with demoniac violence. 

In spite of my pity for the poor fellows, I could not 
refrain from laughing. 

With the earliest dawn I awoke, and the tent was 

Horrid thought ! 

Had the fleas carried them off" ? 

I went out to search for them ; and, after a diligent 
quest, found them still in nature's garb, distributed 
miscellaneously about the encampment. 

In their physical torture they had unconsciously rolled 
out of the tent. 

One lay in an adjacent ditch ; a second under an artil- 
lery wagon ; and the third was convulsively grasping the 
earth, as if he were endeavoring to dig his own grave ; 
believing, no doubt, that, in the tomb, neither Fortune 


nor fleas could ever liarm him more. The unfortunate 
two were covered with crimson spots, and looked as if 
recovering from the small-pox. 

I pulled them, still stupid from their spiritual excess, 
into the tent again, and covered them with Wankets, 
though they swore incoherently as I did so, evidently 
believing that some giant flea was dragging them to 

When they were fully aroused, they fell to scratching 
again most violently, but knew not what had occurred 
until they had recalled the events of the previous night. 

They then blasphemed afresh, and unanimously con- 
signed the entire race of fleas to the Bottomless Pit. 

The fleas still tried to bite, but could find no new 
places, and my companions had grown accustomed 
to them. 

They felt no uneasiness for the coming night ; they 

were aware that the new fleas would retire from a field 


so completely occupied, and that the domesticated 
creatures were in sufficient force to rout all invaders. 

So ended that memorable iJiroche Triste, an exemplifica- 
tion of the Scriptural declaration, 

"The wicked flee when no man pursueth." 




Conversion of a Fair Secessionist. — Disadvantage of Securing a Guard. — A Grand 
Mule Concert. — Sonorous Imitations of the Opera. — High-Art Jackassical Per- 
formances. — Terror excited by the Unique Entertainment. 

A Captain on one of tlie general' s staff in McKinstry' s 
division, while we were at Syracuse, sent a guard to pro- 
tect the house of a secessionist in this neighborhood, who 
felt very needless alarm about liis property ; and learning 
that the rebel had a pretty and interesting daughter (re- 
markable circumstance in Missouri), paid frequent visits 
to her domicil, and assumed the deepest interest in the 

protection and welfare of the family. 


Tliis was, as may be supposed, the effect of the attrac- 
tiveness of the daughter, whose acquaintance, of course, 
the officer made on his first visit. He found the fair girl 
a violent advocate of that meaningless phrase, " Southern 
Rights;" but, like a sensible man, he was the more at- 
tracted to her therefor. 

Here let me state what Brantome and Crebillon, and the 
other French writers on women and their peculiarities, 
have failed to mention. 

The man of perseverance, who eloquently opposes a 
woman's ruling opinion, excites her love through her 

So it proved with the Captain. 


The girl was furious at first ; declared Mm an abolition- 
ist and an assassin ; yowed she would not marry a Yan- 
kee if lier soul' s salvation depended on it, and so on to 
the end. 

The Captain blended vehement Unionism with his pas- 
sionate gallantry, and in a week the girl struck her Seces- 
sion colors, and is now warmly in favor of the Govern- 
ment, and betrothed to the young officer. 

Her father knows not the change of his daughter's 

When he does, he will regret asking a guard for his 
property. He should rather have requested a guard for 
"Helen's" heart, which was hopelessly lost, even to a 
rebel lover she had in Tennessee. 

What is called "winning a woman' s heart" is generally 
a melancholy business. 

It is often less difficult to get it than to get rid of 
it ; and is, on the whole, a very uncomfortable and 
unremunerative acquisition. 

We had an amusing entertainment one night at Syra- 
cuse, and an entertainment of an original character. 

I am passionately fond of music ; could listen to sweet 
music, I think, until my hair turned gray, and be 
unaware of the passage of time. 

I have heard all the great vocalists and artistes that 
have visited this country ; but never, until the night in 
question, had my melody-longing ears been greeted with 
so unique a performance as a mule concert. 

It was irresistibly droll to hear, though it can not be 
described, and would have made Heraclitus laugh. 

My army-correspondent companions and myself were 


talking about tlie prospects of the campaign, while rolled 
in our blankets in the tent, when our voices were drowned 
Iby the loudest and shrillest and most space-penetrating 
bray I remember to have heard. 

A moment passed, and the bray was repeated in a 
baser key ; then another, and another, and another, each 
with a different modulation. 

All the mules in the camp volunteered for the operatic 
role, and the atmosphere quivered with the cacophonous 

Sometimes all the mules but one would cease ; and he 
would execute the solo part, the rest coming in most 
energetically by way of chorus. All voices were repre- 
sented, to the extent of a mule' s capacity. 

We had the soprano, mezzo and pure ; the first and 
second tenore ; the baritone the basso profundo and 
secondo ; the alto and falsetto. 

One mule would attempt a florid passage, and in the 
midst of a roulade would break ; when the others, either 
in applause or ridicule, would indulge in a species of 
mule music that was positively infernal. 

Ten thousand tom-cats, a million of screaming babies, 
a billion of rusty saws carelessly filed, with four trillions 
of intoxicated Teutons, endeavoring to play "Hail Colum- 
bia" with the wrong end of a cornet, might give a faint 
idea of the sound. 

If we could obtain that noise in a concentrated liquid- 
form, and pour it out on the battle-field, it would fright- 
en the Rebels out of their senses, and make the moon 
blink with terrified amazement. 

Indeed it would. 


For at least four hours the mules kept up their infernal 

The soldiers started from their slumbers ; the sentinels 
turned pale ; those of the Catholic faith crossed them- 
selves, and said an "Ave Maria;" the horses neighed 
wildly ; and the general impression seemed to be that 
Hades had broken loose, and emptied itself into Camp 

I thought I had heard unpleasant noises, but I confess 
I was in error. 

No man can justly declare he knows what perfect 
discord is, until he has listened to a mule concert of the 
high art style. 

I have often been told mules were vicious, but now I 
am convinced they are totally depraved ; that they are 
possessed of a devil, and that they let him out through 
their mouths on the night of the ever-to-be-remembered 
jackassical entertainment. 



O ISr THE M A p. C II . 

Brutality of OfQcers. — Sliameful Treatment of a Woman. — Change of Base. — A 
Model Missouri Hotel. — Resumption of the March. — Bohemian Pliilosophj. — 
Its Necessity in the Field. 

The injustice and Ibrntality with wliicli private soldiers 
are often treated by their officers, is enough to render any 
sensitive nature cynical. I have seen repeated instances 
of this, and I wonder some shoulder-strapped ruffians are 
not often assassinated, as they deserve to be, "by the men 
they so grossly abuse. 

As an instance : One day, at Syracuse, a private 
who had a canteen of liquor, and had been drinking, 
was knocked down, beaten, and kicked in the most 
brutal manner, before a dozen Captains, Colonels, and 
Majors, all of whom, doubtless, professed to be gentle- 
men, and yet not one of them remonstrated against the 
outrage, or interfered to prevent it. 

Gentlemen, indeed ! They were not even human. 

Not a voice was raised against the cowardly and ruf- 
fianly officers, except that of a woman, whose instincts of 
humanity could not be repressed. 

When she spoke of the grievous wrong, she was 
insulted by the " military gentlemen" who had failed to 
prevent the cruelty the weak woman only had courage to 


Another instance : Two soldiers, who had been in the 
hospital in St. Louis, and who, extremely anxious to join 
their regiment, had left their beds before they were able, 
arrived one day at Syracuse ; and, still pale and wan, 
but with patriotism and enthusiasm flashing from their 
eyes, went up to the Colonel, and said : 

"Well, Colonel, we are about again. We got up 
against the Surgeon's orders ; but we were afraid we'd 
be left behind, and we always want to be with the brave 

The Colonel, contemptible puppy as he was, looked 
angrily at the poor, brave fellows, and said, in the most 
angry tone : 

"Well, G d you, go and report yourselves, 

and don't trouble me." 

After seeing and hearing the brutality of a portion of 
the officers to their men, I do not wonder the former are 
so often killed in battle, though I presume they often fall 
by other hands than those of the enemy. 

It must be a sweet satisfaction, as well as a species of 
poetic justice, to shoot the brutal tyrants, for whose loss 
Humanity is better, and the World improved. 

After tarrying for eight or ten days at Syracuse, wait- 
ing in vain for McKinstry' s division to move, several of 
the Bohemians determined to join Fremont at Warsaw, 
and therefore rode through the country, infested as it was 
by guerrillas, without any accident or event of interest. 

The only hotel, so called, in Warsaw, was an antique 
frame tenement, somewhat larger than a dry-goods box, 
without its cleanliness, however, that rejoiced in the 
name of the Henry House — apt enough in one respect ; for 


wlioever boarded there no doubt tliouglit lie liad gone to 
the old Harry. It was said, moreover, to be kept in the 
same recherche, though rather profane manner that 
characterized the Bonifacial administration of Mr. Henry 
Achey, formerly of Cincinnati. The proprietor of the 
Henry being asked if he could prepare dinner for the 
"Bohemian Brigade," said he would do so with pleasure 
if we would furnish him with flour, butter, beef, coffee, 
sugar, potatoes, salt, and mutton ; but that those small 
superfluities were just now lacking in his larder. 

Such was life, then, in the Secession regions of Mis- 
souri ; and I apprehend it is not much better now. 

We did not remain long in Warsaw. As soon as the 
bridge over the Gasconade was completed, we pushed on 
towards Springfield, whither it was reported Price was 
moving in all haste. 

We had few incidents of consequence to relate on our 
march, and the ' ' Bohemian Brigade' ' was barren of news 
for its war correspondence, though its personal experience 
and observations might furnish a rather racy chapter of 
gossip by itself. 

At Quincy we took possession of a Rebel deserted 
mansion, I was about to say, but cabin is the word ; and 
from a most desolate abode Ave made it quite endurable in 
half an hour by our own diligence. 

We laid aside our metropolitiin ideas, cut and gathered 
wood, carried furniture from adjacent unoccupied houses, 
collected corn for our horses, swept up the floor, lighted 
the fire and our pipes, and made ourselves very comfort- 
able under the circumstances. 

With our books and correspondence and conversation 


we contrived to pass away half a dozen hours, that would 
ordinarily have l^een most tedious and monotonous. 

At Yort' s Station we appropriated the negroless slave 
quarters attached to a Secession domicil to our own use, 
and for a day placed ourselves in quite a cosy condition, 
and had begun to feel somewhat at home, when the order 
to march came, and we bade adieu to our extemporized 

We adopted the true Bohemian code of doing the best 
we could for our comfort, and of laughing away the 
multifarious annoyances that were inseparable from camp- 
life, even in its best and most endurable forms. 

!N"o one complained, no one grumbled ; though I doubt 
not more than one of us wished the war and its wagers to 
the devil, and resolved in his own heart that military 
existence was a Behemothian bore. 

A man must become philosophical in camp, if he would 
not follow the example of Cato and Brutus, or perish in a 
fit of choler. 

One looks for his blankets, and they have been stolen ; 
for his books, and they are gone ; for his spurs, and they 
have been borrowed ; for his pipe, and it is broken ; for 
his boots, and one is missing ; for his gauntlets, and they 
are in the fire. 

So it goes, day after day. 

Make what effort you will, you can find nothing when 
you want it most ; and I very much question if St. Paul 
would not have been very profane, if he had ever at- 
tached himself to the Army. 



WIL 8 gist's CEEEK. 

Visit to the Battle-Qround. — Its Appearance. — Cause of Sigel's Discomfiture. — 
Scenes on the Field. — Ghastly Spectacles. — The Sleeping Camp. — A Skyey 

After our arrival at Springfield, Mo., I paid a visit 
to the battle-ground of Wilson's Creek, some ten miles 
from that place, and found a number of persons wan- 
dering over the hard-fought field. 

I can imagine few more disadvantageous localities for 
a battle. The country is very rolling, sloping down to 
the little stream, now made historic, and is covered 
with timber and underwood, so that troops can readily 
conceal themselves when the foliage is as thick as it must 
have been in August. 

The ridges are quite steep, and it is difficult to move 
cavalry or artillery over them. The battle must have 
raged over four or five miles of space, and General 
Sigel began the attack far down the creek, while Lyon, 
and Totten, and Sturgis, with the Iowa, Kansas, and 
Missouri regiments, and the regulars, fought at the 
upper end of the field. 

During my sojourn in Springfield, I learned the cause 
of Sigel's discomfiture in the early part of the engage- 
ment. He was ordered to go to a certain point, where 
he was to meet a part of our forces ; and seeing a regi- 
ment from Louisiana advancing, he sui)posed from their 


gay uniforms that tliey were the Iowa troops ; nor did 
he discover his mistake until within thirty yards of 
them, when the Rebels opened a tremendous lire upon his 
command, throwing them into a confusion from which 
they could not recover. 

I saw the s]3ot where the noble Lyon fell ; where every 
officer of distinction fought and died ; where Totten drove 
baclv with fearful slaughter the Rebel cavalry ; where 
every memorable act of that eventful day occurred. 

I beheld, too, the traces of the August battle in frag- 
ments of clothing ; in occasional cups and canteens ; in 
the rude and unmarked graves ; in the skeletons of 
horses and mules, and in tlie wliitening bones of some 
of the soldiers whose bodies had not been found, and 
were therefore deprived of sepulture. 

Out of the sliort grass and among the brown and 
yellow and crimson leaves looked more than one grin- 
ning skull— a grim satire on the glory of War, and the 
pomp of the hollow world. 

One skeleton in particular impressed me. 

It lay in a bent position on the back, with out- 
stretched arms, as if begging for mercy, or seeking to 
protect itself from an advancing foe. 

The flesh was all gone ; but the woollen socks were 
still on the feet ; the pantaloons upon the bones where 
once the legs had been ; wliile the eyeless sockets, the 
prominent and gleaming teeth, the bony horror of the 
skull, seemed to rebuke the pretensions of Life and make 
a mockery of Death. 

In a tree, at the foot of which the skeleton lay, the 
birds were singing, and out of the clear sky a flood of 


warm and genial sunshine was falling, as if Nature, in 
its largeness and goodness, failed to recognize the strifes 
and errors of Man, and paved with splendor even the 
once sanguinary spot where her laws had been profaned. 

In a few days, not far from there — then I thought— that 
dreadful scene will be re-enacted ; and hearts that now 
beat high with Hope and Love and Ambition, and lips 
that are yet moist with memories of sacred kisses, will, 
ere long, be moldering in the dust, and the Autumn 
winds singing their requiem in the vast cathedral of 
this whirling sphere. 

Looking out of the tent as I so reflected, all was 
formless before my baffled eyes. 

I heard no sound. 

A hush as of death rested over the canvas city of the 
outspread plain. 

How many were dreaming there of Home and Happi- 
ness, of Honor and Success, that would never know 
them beyond the domain of Dreams, or have the long- 
ings of their spirit satisfied until the angel of the Ideal 
rests its flight upon the rough marble of the Actual, and 
witli the magic shadow of its wings makes the Real seem 
the Beautiful and True. 

The sky that night was dark and mysterious — deep- 
ening with blackness in the North — ^no star visible — no 
watching moon — as if out of that quarter were coming 
an element of wrath to punish the perfidious and tyrannic 

May the omen be vei'ified ! my heart murmured then ; 
and the omen has been since, my knowledge now de- 




Charge of the Fremont Body-Guard. — Its Desperate Character. — The Heavy Loss„ 
— Scene of the Engagement. — Description of the Battle. — Progress of the 
Eide. — Fhght of the Foe.— After the Struggle. 

That terrible charge, wMch has been aptly named 
"Zagonyi's Ride to Death," was the theme of conversa- 
tion at Springfield weeks after its occurrence ; and, though 
many censured the act as entirely unnecessary, and there- 
fore unmilitary — a needless sacrifice of life, in a word — 
all agreed in pronouncing it one of the most daring and 
brilliant achievements in the annals of modern warfare. 

While, from a mere military point of view, every one 
must condemn the charge ; while it shows no more gener- 
alship than would an order for a squad of raw troops to 
charge in the face of a hundred death-belching batteries, 
110 one can fail to admire the perfect dare-devilism and 
magnificent recklessness with which one hundred and fifty 
young men, entirely inexperienced in war, swept like a 
whirlwind, through a most murderous fire from a double 
column they could not reach with their sabers, upon fif- 
teen hundred determined troops, and, in spite of prepar- 
ation and position, put them to a most inglorious flight. 

All things taken into consideration, I doubt if that 
martial feat has ever been surpassed on the field. The 
Fremont Body-Gruard were all young and uninitiated, 


. scarcely one of tliem having been before under fire ; 
without any food worthy of mention, or rest, for forty- 
eight hours, or a cavahy drill on horseback, and having 
ridden over seventy-eight miles previous to the engage- 
ment ; and yet, under all these overwhelming disadvan- 
tages, they did not hesitate to attack, with all the odds 
against them, a force of fresh troops nearly fourteen times 
greater than their own. 

Large as their loss was — ascertained to be seventeen 
killed, twenty-eight wounded (two mortally), and ten 
missing, with sixty horses killed, and one hundred and 
forty more or less wounded — it seems incredible that 
their loss was not much greater ; that every other man 
did not perish on the field. 

I have visited the scene of the terrific engagement sev- 
eral times, and the more I learned of the charge, the more 
I wondered it could have been successful. Surely it was 
horribly grand, sanguinarily glorious. 

Even now I see the charge as plainly as if it were 
passing before my eyes. Ghastly, but glorious picture ! 

My heart would have sunk if it had not swelled ; my 
blood would have curdled if had not tingled, as the wild 
panorama flashed before my mental vision ! 

On that warm, bright, beautiful, autumnal afternoon, 
the breezes voluptuously dallying with the golden and 
crimson leaves of the drowsy trees, and the birds singing 
a glad hymn to lovely though ^^ensive October, a gallant 
trooj) of cavalry go prancing down the brown and dusty 
road, their voices sounding merrily, and their sabers 
clattering harmoniously at tlieu* sides. On they go, and 
suddenly, out of a thick wood, where the birds are still 


singing, and ITature seems performing lier silent myterie^ 
in the ancient groves, five hundred muskets rain their 
leaden messengers upon the little hand. 

The horses plunge and neigh, and four hrave riders 
reel upon their saddles and fall without a groan heavily 
to the ground. 

ISTo enemy is visible through the trees ; hut a glance 
to the east, over the little hill, shows fifteen hundred 
foemen, with deadly weapons in their hands and a deadly 
glitter in their eye, ranged on each side of the narrow 
road through which they must pass. 

Inevitahle death seems to stare them in the face. 

The floating clouds above their heads seem like their 
descending shrouds. 

The bright sun seems shining the last time for them. 

All their past rushes in a moment through their mind. 

Forsaken scenes of home, of friends, of those beloved, 
rise in painful contrast to their swimming view. 

But with the seconds speed recollection and regret. 
The dread present stands there, inexorable, and demands 
to be answered. 

The commander's voice rings out like a clarion : "Fol- 
low me, my brave boys !" "Fremont and the Union !" 
"Victory or death!" 

No hesitation now ; no pause. 

Determination flashes from every eye. The Will has 
triumphed, and Nature has succumbed. 

The cry is caught up, and along the entire line echoes 
and re-echoes : " Fremont and the Union ! Victory or 

The horses plunge forward as the rowels are buried in 


tlieir sides, and, yelling like savages, the cavalry rusli 
down the road through a continuous and deadly fire. 

Here a rider tumbles ; there a noble steed falls. On 
this side, a Guard clasps his hand to his breast, as a ball 
strikes home. On the other, a stream of blood starts 
from the temple of a youthful warrior ; his limbs relax ; 
his saber falls from his nerveless hand ; his eye glazes ; 
his head sinks upon his horse' s neck ; he is dead upon 
his bounding steed. 

The dust and smoke arise in clouds, and commingle, 
and the din of battle swells ; and the noise of musketry 
shatters the surrounding silence of the charming after- 
noon. Still goes on the ride of the horsemen — the ride 
to death. Their carbines and pistols are in their hands, 
and they return the galling fire, and many a Rebel dies 
ere he can ask Heaven' s pardon for his sins. While an 
absent mother or sister is praying for his safety, there 
he lies dead, with a bullet through his heart. 

Now the fearless cavalry have ridden through the fire 
of death, and paused before one of the fences separating 
them from their malignant foes. 

The fence must be let down, and four brave fellows are 
soon dismounted, and, under a heavy fire, perform their 
task as coolly as if they were executing an every- day 
labor. At this point four or five of the Guard are shot 
down, and in a moment all who are unhurt are dashing 
through the opening into the adjacent field, where the 
Rebels are formed in a hollow square. 

The Body Guard form in a double column, and spread 
out, fan-like, to the north and south, and with tremendous 
cries of "Hurrah for Cincinnati!" "Old Kentucky for- 


ever!" " Rememlber tlie Qneen City, boys! do nothing 
she will be ashamed of!" they charge upon the Rebels 
with a terrible energy. 

The foe endeavor to sustain the shock, and for a minute 
stand their ground ; but the Body Guard, Major Zagonyi 
at their head, fight like devils ; and cutting with their 
sabers to the right and left, and riding over the enemy, 
and trampling them under their horses' feet, the Seces- 
sionists give way, and, breaking their square, retire to a 
central position. 

Here the Gruards are again upon them, and their energy 
and ferocity seemed to increase as the fight continues, and 
the Rebels, unable to resist their furious attack, break 
into small bodies, and run in every direction, seeking 
shelter in the bushes and behind the trees ; firing, as 
rapidly as they can load, upon their pursuers. 

The Rebels are soon dislodged from their place of 
shelter, and those on horseback place a safe distance 
between themselves and harm, and seek the adjacent 
country through the woods. 

The infantry fly to the corn-fields and down the road 
leading to Springfield, and are closely followed by the 
victorious Guards, who, with pistol, carbine, and saber, 
continue the work of destruction until their blades reek 
with blood, and their tired arms hang heavy at their sides. 

Up and down the streets of the town fly the affrighted 
Rebels, still retaining their weapons. 

Women and children stand pale with fear, gazing, with 
the strange fascination that courage excites, through 
closed windows at the horrid spectacle. 

Here a youth lies with his skull cloven to his clieek ; 


there tlie life of an aged man eblbs away througli a purple 
Before that peaceful dwelling an expiring E,el)el glares 
witli powerless hatred upon an unhorsed Gfuard whose 
eyes are swimming in death. 

In the public square, two foes are breathing their last 
in each other's arms — the embrace of tliose who grapple 
at one another' s throats while falling into the grave. 

At the entrance of the Court-house, a son lies dead 
upon the corpse of a father he had sought to save in 
vain ; and in the bend of yonder lane two brothers of the 
Guards are striving to gasp out last words to each other, 
before this World fades forever from their glassy eyes. 

After a dreadful hour, that must have seemed a minute 
to some, to others an age — the battle, the rout, the slaugh- 
ter is over. 

The sinking sun looked with a crimson glow upon the 
gory battle-held, upon the piles of lifeless chargers, upon 
the wounded, the dying, and the dead — Unionists and 
Rebels — who had sealed their devotion with their blood. 

A melancholy offering was that upon the altar of 
patriotism. Human victims lay upon the disputed 
ground ; loud, agonizing groans and cries of pit}^, and 
even bitter curses, went up together to the peaceful 
heaven, bending in blue beauty over all — upon the 
Northman and the Southron alike, upon the friend of 
the Union and its foe. 

And, long after the voiceless midnight, the moon 
glided up the clear sky, like a celestial nun, telling her 
rosary of stars, and praying silently for the gallant spirits 
that had so bravely fouglit, so bravely died. 




The Return to Eolla. — A Ghastly Jest. — A Brace of Fair Bohemians. — The 
Discrediting Effect of Camp Attire. — A Night in a Barn. — Potency of an 
Army Pass. 

EvEET one knows liow Fremont was removed at 
Springfield, and tliat Hunter, after succeeding liim, 
made a grand retrograde movement to RoUa. The ex- 
citement produced "by that event I do not care to par- 
ticularize, nor to express at this late day any opinion of 
the justice or injustice of the measure. 

Fremont is out of the service ; and let the dissensions 
to which his enthusiastic friends and his bitter enemies 
gave rise die with the causes that made them. 

At that time hardly any of the War-Correspondents 
had witnessed a battle worthy of the name ; and Avhen 
they turned their back upon Springfield, where they had 
fully expected to chronicle a decisive engagement, and 
share in some of its hazards, they were vexed, chagrined, 
and disappointed, as was the whole Army — I have never 
seen a better one of its size — on its countermarch to 

The Correspondent of the St. Louis Democrat — for 
tliree years past an oflBcer in the Navy — and myself 
brought up the rear, and journeyed leisurely with Gen- 
eral Wyman's brigade over the Ozark Mountains back 
toward St. Louis. ' 


On onr retrograde movement in Laclede County, on tlie 
night of ^November lltli, a very sudden death occurred 
at Camp Plummer, proving that the skeleton-king oft 
comes when least expected — passing from the blazing 
battery to strike his victim in the midst of security and 

A young man, Henry Holt, bugler of Major Power's 
cavalry, attached to the Thirteenth Regiment, was com- 
plaining of feeling rather ill,- when the Quartermaster, 
Captain Henderson, who had a passion for aught like 
fun, proposed to Ijury the musician ; and, in the spirit of 
merriment, seized a spade, and, after measuring the com- 
plainer, dug a grave of his exact proportions. 

The bugler laughed, as did his companions, at the 
humor of the officer, and soon after went away to dis- 
charge some duty with which he had been intrusted. 

About nine o'clock the same evening, Holt was sit- 
ting, with seven or eight of his company, about a camp 
fire, within a few feet of the grave, when some one 
pointed to it and remarked, in a tone of badinage, 

" Come, Harry, get ready for your funeral !" 

The youth looked over his shoulder at the gloomy 
cavity in the earth, put his hand to his head, and fell 
from his stool. 

His companions laughed at the little piece of acting, as 
they supposed it, and were surprised that he did not 
rise from the earth. 

They went up to him, asking, "Are you asleep, 

He made no answer, and yet liis eyes were oj)en. 

Tliey shook him in vain. 


His friends grew alarmed. One placed his hand upon 
Harry' s heart. It was still : he was dead ! 

He had perished of a stroke of apoplexy, and was 
buried at midnight, in the grave made for him in jest 
by a merry-hearted friend. 

And so the droll jest was drowned in the hollow 
sound of the earth falling upon a rude coffin, and sol- 
emnly waking the stillness of the night-morn amid the 
solitude of a broad prairie of the Southwest. 

During the last two or three days of our march, its 
monotony was relieved by the companionship of two 
young and cultivated women who were on their way 
to St. Louis, under the protection of the army. With 
a positive passion for Beauty, Nature, Poetry, and 
Romance, their conversation beguiled the weary hours, 
and often their light-hearted laugh made the desolate 
mountain silences echo with gladness. 

Quite Bohemlanish, and certainly fond of adventure, 
were those fair girls, who frequently regretted they were 
not men, that they might be emancipated from the 
narrowness Society imposed upon them, and follow the 
bent of their large inclinations. 

My journalistic companion and myself explained to 
them the character of the Bohemian Brigade, and with 
their full permission elected them honorary members 
of that unique society. 

The girls and we duo of Bohemians had a good deal 
of amusement in riding, walking, fording creeks and 
rivers, and exploding, to our satisfaction, the multifa- 
rious shams of modern society and present-day custom. 

Our journeying was romantic, and certainly agreeable, 


after our long albsence from feminine society. We parted 
with the fair girls, not, I believe, without mutual regret, 
and never probably to see them more. 

They were Bohemians then ; but Society and Gustom 
have perhaps ere this made them conform. 

They are still young and romantic ; but a few years 
will doubtless find them deteriorated into domestic 
drudges, shut out forever by household necessities 
from the land of Bohemia and the realm of the Ideal. 

Arriving near RoUa on Saturday, the correspondent 
of the Democrat and myself concluded to go to town and 
stop at a hotel, hoping to become accustomed ere long 
to civilized life once more. 

We did so in our campaign costume ; and before the 
landlord learned who we were, he evinced great distrust 
of our honesty, and asked us, in a very polite manner, 
just as we were about to take a walk after dinner, if it 
would be convenient for us to pay for our meal. 

We laughed, and told him our profession, and that 
our baggage was in his house — a fact of which he was 
unconscious — when he apologized, and said he thought 
we might have forgotten so small an amount of indebted- 
ness, as we doubtless had man^^ more imj)ortant things 
to remember. 

This little incident proves the truth of Herr Teufels- 
droch's opinion respecting the power of clothes. 

Had we been attired as we would have been in the 
city, he would have danced attendance on us all day ; 
but, fresh from camp, he imagined us suspicious char- 
acters, designing to swindle him out of the poor price 
of a most wretched meal. 



Tliat is a fine sentiment Sliakspeare put in tlie moutli 
of old Polonins : 

"It is the mind that makes the body rich; 
And as the sun breaks through the darkest cloud, 
So honor peereth in the meanest habit." 

But I fear the sentiment is not at all true witli tlie 
great mass of the people, who iDelieve tliere is an in- 
separaWe association between dishonesty and damaged 

When night came we found every particle of hotel space 
in the miserable village of RoUa occupied ; and as a last 
resource we repaired to the barn, never before having 
had the pleasure of sleeping in such a place ; expecting, 
however, we might be a little lioarse in the morning. 

We carried our blankets to the barn, where we found 
several other bed-despairing individuals, and were soon 
ensconced in a self-made couch composed of woolen 
and hay. 

As there was a heavy storm during the night, the rain 
on the roof and the wind sighing through the loose 
weather-boarding conjured up poetic pictures to the 
imagination, and transformed the desolate old barn into 
an Aladdin's palace of fancy. 

About daylight, one of the sleepers discovered he 
had fallen into a hay-rack ; another was awakened by 
a hostler endeavoring to put a halter around his neck ; 
and a third by the thrusting of a pitch-fork within an 
inch of his head, which had been mistaken for a part 
of a bundle of oats. 

We paid our bill to the rural Boniface, including fifty 
cents for lodging in the barn — that was cheap, consider- 


ing that more was charged for reposing in the shadow 
of the town-pnmp — and we are soon on the eve of de- 
parture for St. Louis by the railway, which appears odd 
enough after long weeks of nothing but equine journeys. 

An incident occurred the evening after our arrival in 
St. Louis, at one of the dancing halls in the city, of rather 
an amusing nature. 

Two of the Bohemian Brigade were admiring the danc- 
ing of a pretty girl on the stage, when one of them de- 
termined to go behind the scenes and pour his tale of 
burning passion into what he conceived would neces- 
sarily be her all-attentive ear. 

He accordingly presented himself at the stage-door, 
and was very naturally refused admission; whereupon 
he drew out an army pass, and said that gave him the 
privilege of going anywhere, at any time, in the territory 
of the United States, and that whoever disobeyed the 
order would be arrested at once. 

This very bold statement was accompanied by such 
a magnificent manner of authority and importance that 
the guardian. of the portal, without reading the pass, 
allowed the holder to enter, and in a few minutes the 
adroit Bohemian Avas seeking to convince the Terpis- 
chorean divinty that he had never believed in love until 
he had seen her an hour before, and that for the future 
the earth would be desolate unless revivified by her 




The Feminine Secessionists of St. Louis. — Tlieir Parrot-like Raving. — Their Ee- 
semblance to Barnaby Rudge's Raven. — Harmlessness of Petticoated Traitors. 
— Sale of Rebel Property. — Curious Scene. — A Mysterious Article. 

The principal element of Secession in St. Louis, early 
in tlie War, was, and probably is still, in tlie women, who, 
having the privilege of saying what they pleased, were 
often loud in their denunciations of the Government, and 
profuse in their expressions of sympathy with the South. 
' They talked an infinite deal of Rebel fustian ; but it 
meant nothing, and did no harm. 

There, as in the other Slave State cities. Secession was 
the mode, and that, combined with what was then the 
newness of the doctrine, was sufficient to make almost 
any woman its exponent. 

Many silly girls in St. Louis thought they would not 
be fashionable unless they talked treason ; and they did 
it systematically, just as they wore a certain kind of 
•mantle or a peculiar style of bonnet. 

Brainless women spoke of the outrages of the North 
and of the wrongs of the South, without having any more 
idea of the meaning of the words than a parrot that has 
caught the sound has of a metaphysical phrase of Fichte 
or Hegel, and^screaras it out to every passer-by. 

The political conversation of many of the feminine 


Secessionists in that town reminded one of the raven, 
Grip, in "Barnaby Rndge," on the night when that 
sagacious bird endeavored to recollect the valuable ad- 
monition to a popular though mysterious Polly, respect- 
ing the preparation of the evening meal. 

Grip could- recollect "Polly put the ket ," but 

there Ms memory failed, and drowsiness overcame Mm. 
At last he caught the remainder of the quotation, and 
uttered : 

" Polly put the kettle on, 
And we'll all take tea. 
I'm a devil ! I'm a devil ! I'm a devil ! 
Eire, fire, fire ! Never say die ! 
I'm a kettle on ! I'm a fire ! 
Never say kettle on, we'll all take PoUy. 
I'm a fire — kettle — on devil — I'm a ." 

and he fell asleep again. 

All that would have been necessary to complete the 
comparison between the women and Grip would have 
been for him to declare himself a Secessionist, for certainly 
Ms speech was no more mixed and irrelevant than the 
arguments of the petticoated traitors. 

All they could tell you was that they were Secession- 
ists ; but what that meant, or why they were so, or what 
they wanted, or how they were injured, was beyond 
their power of representation. 

Secession women are amusing, at any rate, and, so long 
as they confine themselves to talking, do no harm, unless 
to some false reputation they may have acquired for 

Women, at best, are what men make of them. Tliey 
shine by a borrowed light, and see through the eyes of 
their last lover. 


Let me know a woman' s nearest friend, and I will tell 
you what are her opinions and her tastes. 

I have been not a little entertained at the conversation 
I have had with some of the pretty Rebels in the South, 
who, with theu' little doll faces, express the most sangui- 
nary sentiments, and hope the ' ' Yankees' ' will all he killed, 
in the blandest of tones, and with the sweetest of smiles. 

Their efforts to perform the role of desperate traitors 
appear like the endeavor of a rose-bud to convert itself 
into a Paixhan gun or a sub-marine battery. 

But enough of those dear little know-notliings, all of 
whom would not mar the peace of the most sentimental 
school-boy that ever moistened with his tears the pages 
of the "Children of the Abbey." 

The sale in St. Louis, during February, 1862, of the 
goods seized from assessed Rebels, by a Fourth street 
auctioneer, attracted a very dense crowd of the most 
miscellaneous character. 

So great was the curiosity excited, that the thorough- 
fare before the building was blocked, the street-cars 
compelled to stop, and the serried mass on the track 
dispersed, before the conveyance could advance. 

Several of the war correspondents then sojoiu-ning in 
that city, waiting for coming events, witnessed the sale of 
the confiscated pianos, tables, buggies, muTors, center- 
tables, vases, rugs, lamps, chess-boards, and other arti- 
cles of household furniture and ornament, and were 
amused at the grotesque appearance of the pressing, 
jostling, excited, anxious crew of bidders and lookers on. 

Old and young women, peddlers and pickpockets, Jews 
and journalists, bar-keepers and book- worms, stevedores 


and strumpets, printers and pugilists, authors and actors, 
loafers and litterateurs, were there in profusion and con- 

Here was a veneraMe, desiccated proprietress of a 
Broadway Iboarding-liouse — who, for a lover of paleontol- 
ogy, would have been an interesting study — in close 
contact with a youthful and pretty woman, whose ele- 
gance of toilette was surpassed only by her vapidity. 

Here was a stalwart shoulder-hitter peeping over the 
glossy hat of an elaborately done-up dandy, who had 
braved the inclement weather to purchase his "darling 
Julia's pianah- stool," if it cost him, as he heroically 
expressed it, the last drop of his blood. 

Near the awning-post leaned a begrimed artisan upon 
the shoulder of a flashily-attired gambler ; and, a few feet 
off, a juvenile vender of matches was pushing his basket 
into the parabolic apron of a feminine figure, in a manner 
that would have delighted a disciple of Malthus. 

Some article of furniture, said by the auctioneer to 

have been the property of the beautiful Miss • , but 

which I could not see, created a sensation, and was 
immediately inclosed by a living wall of young men, as 
if they wished to act as a body-guard, fearful that some 
other and more enterprising citizen Avould carry off the 
mysterious what-not. 

The bidding was very animated, and it appeared a 
point of honor and a piece of gallantry to obtain it at any 

"Five — ten — fifteen — twenty dollars," said the auc- 
tioneer; "will you see this wonder of art, this glorious 
instrument, sacrificed at such a rate ? 


"No man of feeling "but would give twice the sum. Be 
generous, gentlemen ; this is a rare opportunity. 

"The owner of this is not poor, but she is beautiful. 
Bid now, like men who are true to themselves, but truer 
to the sex." 

Thirty, forty dollars was offered, and finally fifty was 
named, and the apocryphal article sold. 

I here made another desperate but unsuccessful effort 
to obtain a glimpse of the furniture, and still marveling 
what it could have been, even after I had heard a fellow 
say: "It was not worth one-tenth so much, but I sup- 
pose it was valuable from association." 

The sale of seized property was, I learned, quite profit- 
able, and certainly attracted a large crowd, who enjoyed 
the auction exceedingly, and carried off the various 
articles as if they had been trophies of war, instead of the 
most harmless instruments of peace. 




March from Fort Henry to the Field. — Troubles of the Correspondents. — Difficulty 
of Subsistence. — Courage of our Soldiers. — Examples of Sacrifice and Heroism. 
— Gallant Charge. — Amateur Sharpshooting. — Mortification of the Enemy after 
the Surrender. — Desperation of the Eebels. — Repudiation of the Five to One 
Boast. — Ghastly Wounds. — Touching Incidents. 

The army correspondents liad no power, through love 
or largess, to obtain horses on their February campaign 
in Tennessee, the second year of the War. 

The talisman of the Press had lost its equine potency, 
and most of the war-pursuing Bohemians were compelled 
to go to the field from Fort Henry over a rough and miry 
road in a pedestrianizing capacity. 

Philosophers complain of nothing ; but, to a vivid 
imagination, the prospect of the approaching fight was 
more unique than fascinating. 

I fancied the Bohemians wandeiing over the field knee- 
deep in mud, liable, without uniforms or any badge of 
distinction, to be mistaken by each side for foes, and, in 
the event of a defeat, to be ridden down and shot at, 
under suspicion of being Rebels, in the most miscella- 
neous and magnificent manner. 

So I fancied ; and my fancies were more than half 

No one cares for a Bohemian, I hope, and no true 
Bohemian cares who cares for him. 

If, to speak typographically, he is set up leaded with a 


sliooting-stick, or Ms form is knocked into everlasting pi 
by a shell, no column-rule will be turned for liim. There 
will be merely one journalist less in the World, and one 
more phase. of boredom exhausted. 

For any ill-fated quill-driver who may breakfast with 
Proserpine one of these dull mornings, I have composed 
an epitaph, which nothing but regard for my readers, and 
the memory of the deceased that is to be, prevents me 
from inserting here. 

Well I remember how we of the Press wandered about 
that hard-fought field, half-starved and half-frozen, hav- 
ing left our blankets and india-rubbers behind, and 
brought no rations with us ; supposing, as did every one 
in the army, that the capture of Donelson would be 
a simple before-breakfast recreation. 

Few of us, as I have said, had horses ; and, being 
without tents, provisions, or sufficient clothing— particu- 
larly after the sudden change, on the day of our arrival, 
from Spring-life softness and warmth to raw, biting, 
penetrating Avind and storm, followed by sleet, snow, 
and severe wintry weather — we suffered greatly, but, 
fortunately for us, not long. 

At Fort Henry an explosion of a box of ammunition 
had dashed a piece of cartridge-paper into one of my 
optics, which soon inflamed the other through sympathy, 
and made me nearly blind. 

For three days I groped over the frozen and snowy 
ground, and, with my companion of the New York Woj^ld, 
followed, from time to time, army wagons, to pick up 
pieces of hard bread which were jolted out semi-occasion- 
ally over the rough roads. 


I tliouglit tliat difficult to endure tlien ; "but, since my 
long apprenticeship in Rebel prisons, I regard by com- 
parison all previous experience of my life, however 
unpleasant and painful, as a path of roses and a stream 
of joy. 

The battle of Donelson, or siege of Fort Donelson, as it 
is often called, was continued by land and water for four 
dnjs, February 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th ; though, from 
the position of the Rebel works on the river, our gun- 
boats were enabled to do little toward the obtainment of 
the victory. 

The country about Donelson was very uneven, being 
surrounded by high hills, and covered in many places 
with trees and undergrowth, so that nothing could be 
seen of the main work from any point of land that our 
men were able to reach. 

Although I was wandering over the field all four days, 
I did not see the fort proper myself, nor meet a single 
person who had seen it, though the outworks were visi- 
ble from various places, and the Rebels working the 

On Saturday, the 15th inst., our troops, though most of 
them had never been under fire, fought like veterans, 
under the most disadvantageous circumstances, having 
been without sleep for two or three nights, and without 
food for twenty-two hours. 

All the officers acted coolly and gallantly, and encour- 
aged the soldiers by word and example. 

A lieutenant seized the colors of one of the regiments, 
after the ensign had been shot down, and bore them for a 
quarter of an hour in the thickest of the fight. 


A captain of one of the companies received two "balls 
through his hat and three through his coat without being 
conscious of his narrow escapes until after the battle. 

Three or four of the officers had the hair of their head 
and their faces grazed by musket-balls ; and, in two in- 
stances, the skin was removed from the ear by the leaden 
messengers of the Rebels. 

An orderly sergeant, seeing a Rebel pointing a rifle at 
the captain of his company, threw himself before his 
beloved officer, received the bullet through his breast, 
and fell dead in the arms of the man he had saved. 

The sergeant, I learned, had been reared and very gen- 
erously treated by the father of the captain, and had 
declared, when he first enlisted, that he would be happy 
to die to save the life of his benefactor' s son. 

Most nobly and gloriously did he redeem his promise. 

The severest and the decisive contest was on the left at 
the close of Saturday. General C. F. Smith, with his 
division, composed of Indiana, Iowa, and Illinois regi- 
ments, marched up to the breastworks, and engaged the 
enemy in the most spirited manner. 

The Iowa Second was the first regiment that scaled the 
breastworks, performing the hazardous and brilliant 
movement in masterly style, after the manner of the 
veterans who immortalized themselves in the wars of 

They never hesitated, they never faltered, but with 
firm step and flashing eye, passed, without firing a gun, 
into the Rebel works. 

In a few seconds other regiments followed, and a terri- 
ble strife ensued between the contending parties. The 


Secessionists seemed resolved to drive the Unionists back, 
and the latter equally determined not to surrender the 
advantage they had obtained. 

For at least two hours the rattling of musketry was 
unceasingly heard, and the armed masses surged to and 
fro. Fortune appeared to favor now one side, and now 

Ever and anon, a loud cheer went up for the Union, 
and that was caught up at a distance and echoed by our 
soldiers, and joyously re-echoed by the surrounding 

Many a brave warrior heard that glorious shout as his 
senses reeled in death, and his spirit went forth embalmed 
with the assurance that he had not fallen in vain. 

A large Rebel gun every few seconds would pour its 
iron hail against our struggling heroes ; but generally, as 
the sequel proved, the firing was too high. Of that fact 
we were not aware at the time, and the booming gun 
caused much uneasiness and alarm. 

The correspondent of the St. Louis MepvMican and 
myself were on the summit of a hill near the hostile 
breastworks, indulging in a little amateur pugnacity 
with Birge's slmrpshooters, who had very kindly loaned 
us two of their Enfields. They were trying in vain to 
pick off the Rebel gunner, whom we could not see, 
though we could determine, by the puff of the smoke from 
the vent, about Avhere he stood. 

" Are you a good shotf inquired one of Birge's men 
of me. " If you are, here is as good a rifle as ever killed 
a Rebel; and if you'll pepper that fellow over there at 
that gun, I'll give you any thing I've got." 


I made no promises, for I liaye very little skill as a 
marksman, but quietly accepted tlie Enfield, with the air 
of Leather Stocking ; and, waiting until the gun went off 
again, I fired at the very moment the blue smoke puffed 
above the earthworks. 

For some reason or other, the gun was not fired for 
nearly five minutes. 

The sharpshooter looked at me with wonder and admi- 
ration, and saying, "I think you fixed him that time," 
received back the rifle I handed him as if there would be 
no more use for it in the future. 

"I shouldn't be surprised," I remarked to my com- 
panion, and walked dignifiedly away while my laurels 
were green. 

That sharpshooter will believe to his last hour I killed 
that Rebel gunner. 

I hope as he believed. 

Soon after that incident, a loud report was heard, and 
the woods reverberated with a Union cry of joy, for the 
soldiers recognized it as the thunder of a Yankee gun, 
gotten into position at last, and believed it would do 
much to decide the battle. 

Again and again that gun sounded, and the national 
banner waved, and the Rebels were driven from their 

The Union regiments received orders to hold their 
position during the night, and renew the strife in the 

The morning came, but there was no need of further 
contest ; for in the morning the enemy surrendered, and 
Donelson was ours. 


Our foes sought to save tlieir pride and conceal their 
mortification by declaring they were betrayed by Pillow 
and Floyd; that they had no idea of surrendering, and 
would not have surrendered until reduced to the last 
extremity, if the question had been left to them. 

That was all bosh, however. 

'No such course would have been adopted, if the enemy 
had believed himself capable of holding out longer, or 
if braggadocio and bluster could have been made to 
answer for stout hearts and brave deeds. 

Every one asked. What made nearly twenty thousand 
able-bodied soldiers surrender, with plenty of provisions 
and ammunition, intrenched as they were behind breast- 
works that made them equal to any odds ? 

How could they, after all their -insolence, arrogance, 
and assumption of superiority, yield to a force very little 
more than their own, and to men whose courage they 
questioned, and whose manliness they affected to 
despise ? 

The sole answer was, and is, that boastfulness is rarely 
the parent of valor, and insolence seldom the companion 
of magnanimity. 

In conversation with one of the Rebel Captains, after 
the surrender, he asked me how our boats had contrived 
to escape all the torpedoes placed in the Tennessee and 
Cumberland Rivers, and which, he had thought, would 
blow our iieet to atoms. 

When told the torpedoes were usually hannless, and 
that some of them had been taken up and exhibited as 
specimens of ineffectual malignity, he declared it was very 
hard to kill a Yankee ; that, if you baited a hook with 


tlie Devil, a Yankee would steal the hook without the 
Devil' s knowing it. 

Several of the Rehels showed, during the engagement, 
a recklessness of life that proved their desperation. 

One of them mounted the breastworks in full view of 

our forces, and defied the "d d Yankees." But 

hardly had the defiance passed his lips before he fell 
pierced by a score of bullets. 

Another remained outside of the rifle-pits after all his 
companions had retreated behind them, and fought with 
his sword against half a dozen of the Unionists who had 
surrounded him, and were anxious to take him prisoner. 

They asked him several times to surrender ; but he 
declared he would rather die : and die he did, on the 
point of a Union bayonet ; but not before he had slain 
one, and wounded three of his adversaries. 

One of the prisoners afterward gave me the history of 
that desperate Secessionist. 

He had inherited a large fortune ; married a wife in 
Tennessee ; squandered his means in riotous living and 
dissipation ; separated from his spouse ; become recldess ; 
joined the army, and declared his intention to live no 
longer than the first battle. 

He redeemed his word, and closed his wild career a 
needless martyr to an unholy cause. 

A third Secessionist, a private in a Mississippi com- 
pany, left his companions in arms, and, with a horrid 
imprecation, rushed into the midst of one of our regi- 
ments, aiming a blow with his musket at an Indiana 
Captain, who shot him dead with his revolver before 
the desperado could inflict any injury. 


Three memlbers of the 8th niinois rushed over the rifle- 
pits after the enemy had retreated into them, and perished 
fighting against a thousand foes. 

On Saturday, a young soldier, James Hartley, who had 
lost a brother the previous day, swore he would he 
revenged ; and in one of the sorties hy the Rebels, he 
attacked six of them single-handed, killed three, and 
then lost his own life. 

Corporal Mooney, an Irishman, seeing that the staff of 
one of the regimental flags was shot away, picked up the 
Stars and Stripes, and, wrapping them round his body, 
rushed over the parapet, and crying, "Come on, my brave 
boys !" was blown to pieces by a shell. 

A Lieutenant-Colonel in an Iowa regiment, during the 
fierce contest of Saturday afternoon, had nine bullets put 
through his coat, and yet sustained no injury. 

Peter Morton, of the 13th Illinois, had the case of his 
watch, which he wore in his upper vest pocket, immedi- 
ately over his breast, torn away by a canister-shot, and 
the chronometer still continued to keep time. 

The life of Reuben Davis, of the 5th Kentucky, was 
saved by a silver half dollar in his waistcoat pocket. 

He had borrowed that amount from a companion some 
days before, and offered to return it before going into 
the engagement ; but his companion told him to keep the 
coin, as he might stand in need of it before night. 

He had tlie greatest need of it. A rifle-ball struck the 
coin in the centre, and destroyed tlie figure of Liberty on 
its face, but harmed not the Kentuckian. 

Within the Fort a small Secession flag was planted; 
and twice the pole supportii;g it was shot away. 


Some one picked it up, saying, "That is a bad omen. 
If it is "brought down again, we will be defeated." 
Hardly had he spoken before a shell burst above his 
head, and a fragment shivered the staff, and crashed 
through the speaker's skuU. 

On Monday, the day after the surrender, I talked a 
great deal with the Rebel officers ; asking some from 
South Carolina and Mississippi their opinion about the 
capacity of a Southerner to whip five I^ortherners. 

" It's all d d nonsense," was the reply. "Whoever 

says so is a d d fool." 

"Your newspapers have so stated, time and again," I 

"Probably they have. If the editors think so, let 
them try it. It is enough for us soldiers to whip one 
Yankee at a time. When we get done with him, we 
think we've done about all that we desire." 

Many of the enemy found upon the battle-field, after 
we had obtained possession of a part of the intrench- 
ments on Saturday afternoon, were horribly wounded, 
mostly by our Minie rifles and Enfield muskets, and 
usually in the face or on tlie head. 

Poor fellows lay upon the ground with their eyes and 
noses carried away ; their brains oozing from their crania ; 
their moutlis shot into horrible disfiguration ; making a 
hideous spectacle that must have haunted those who saw 
it for many days. 

I saw an old gray-haired man, mortally wounded, 

endeavoring to stop, with a strip of his coat, the life-tide 

flowing from the bosom of his son, a youth of twenty 




The boy told his ftither it was useless ; that he could 
not live ; and while the devoted parent was still striving 
feehly to save him who was perhaps his first-born, a 
shudder passed over the frame of the would-he pre- 

His head fell upon the hosom of the youth, and his 
gray hairs were "bathed in death ^vith the exi)iring blood 
of his misguided son. 

I saw the twain half an hour after ; and youth and age 
were locked lifeless in each other's arms. 

A dark-haired young man, of apparently twenty-two 
or three years, I found leaning against a tree, his breast 
pierced by a bayonet. He said he lived in Alabama ; 
that he had joined the Rebels in opposition to his 
parents' wishes ; that his mother, when she had learned 
that he would go into the army, had given him her 
blessing, a Bible, and a lock of her hair. 

The Bible lay half opened on the ground, and the 
hair, a dark lock, tinged with gray, that had been be- 
tween the leaves, was in his hand. 

In the lock of hair, even more than in the Volume, 
Religion was revealed to the dying young man. I saw 
him lift the tress again and again to his lips, as his eyes 
looked dimly across the misty sea that bounds the shores 
of Life and Death, as if he saw his mother reaching out 
to him with the arms that had nursed him in his infancy : 
to die, alas ! fighting against his country, and the coun- 
sels of her whose memory lived latest in his departing 

A Secession soldier of the lOtli (Irish) Tennessee regi- 
ment, I believe, was lying just inside of the fortifications. 


His glazing eyes gave assurance that life vas eml)raced in 
minutes. He held a rosary and crucifix in his hand, and 
his moving lips were doubtless offering a prayer. He 
had evidently endeavored to kneel, but was too weak. 

One of our soldiers saw and hurried to him, to assist 
him in his attitude of prayer ; and while engaged in that 
kind office, a shot from a Rebel cannon struck and killed 
them both. 




Extracts from my N'ote-Book. — Sensations of a Reasoning Man Under Fire. — A 
Novel in Brief — A Faithless Woman and a Sacrificed Lover. — A Juvenile 
Hero. — Difficulty of Dying on the Field. — Ultra-professional Correspondents. 
— Ludicrous lucidents of their Journalistic Devotion. 

In two instances, at Donelson, I noticed wounded foes 
lying near, wlio were offering water to each other from 
their canteens. So humane and gentle were our living to 
the wounded and dying enemy, that one would have sup- 
posed they were the nearest and closest friends. 

One fierce Rebel, a Mississippian, refused all aid, 
though badly wounded, and endeavored to shoot a mem- 
ber of one of the Ohio regiments, who had approached 
to render him assistance ; which so outraged the good- 
hearted soldier, that he lifted his musket to blow out his 
enemy' s brains. 

A moment's reflection made him magnanimous, how- 
ever, and he left the Mississippian to care for himself. 

Tlie many instances I might relate of daring, sufferingJ 
and heroism, on both sides, prove how mysteriously wha^ 
we call Good and Evil is commingled in Humanity 
that even through the dark clouds of War the sun ol 
Justice and Mercy streams ; that on the most barrel 
heath fair flowers are breathing out their sweetness ever,J 
though all unseen. 



Few persons Ibut have some curiosity albont Ibattle- 
fields, and a positive wisli to know liow men feel under 
fire, especially before custom has made them indifferent. 
Most of those at Donelson must have had that experience, 
as the field was such that few could go to any part of it 
without incurring more or less risk. 

Hardly any one could see the Rebels or their guns ; 
and, consequently, the first intimation of their presence 
was the falling of a shell, or the rattling of shot or balls 
in his immediate vicinity. 

I am not aware that I have any courage, moral or 
physical ; but the sensations under fire, judging from my 
experience, are different from what is anticipated. 

A reasoning man, with a love of adventure, at first 
feels alarmed ; and his impulse is to run away ; and if he 
has no motive to stand, he probably does run. But at 
each additional exposure he grows less timid, and after 
hearing canister and grape about his ears a dozen times, 
begins to think he is not destined to be hurt. 

He still feels rather uneasy, perhaps ; but the danger 
acquires a sort of fascination ; and, though he does not 
wish to be hit, he likes to have narrow escapes, and so 
voluntarily places himself in a position where he can 
incur more risk. 

After a little while, he begins to reason the matter ; re- 
flects on the Doctrine of Probabilities, and how much 
powder and lead is necessarily wasted before any man is 
killed or wounded. 

Why should he be, he thinks, so much more unlucky 
than many other people ? So reasoning, he soon can bear 
the whizzing of bullets with a tolerable degree of equa- 


nimity, though lie inyoluntarily dodges, or tries to dodge, 
the cannon-balls and shells that go howling about his 
immediate neighborhood. 

In the afternoon, he is quite a different creature from 
what he was in the morning, and unwittingly smiles to 
see a man betray the same trepidation which he himself 
exhibited a few hours before. 

The more he is exposed to fire, the better he can bear 
it ; and the timid being of to-day becomes the hero of 

And he who runs from danger on his first battle-field, 
may run into it on the next, and court the hazard he once 
so dreaded. 

Thus courage, as it is styled, is little more, with most 
men, than custom ; and they soon learn to despise what 
has often threatened without causing them harm. 

If wounded, they learn wounds are less painful to bear 
than they had imagined ; and then the Doctrine of Pro- 
babilities teaches them once more, they are less likely to 
be wounded again. 

So the mental process goes on, until the nerves by 
degrees become the subjects of the Will ; and he only 

fears who has not the will to be brave. 

* * * * 

A young man belonging to one of the Tennessee regi- 
ments — he held the rank of first lieutenant in his com- 
pany — was very dangerously wounded at Donelson, in 
Saturday morning' s strife, and was not expected to live 
when I left Dover, where he lay in much pain. 

The young man stated he was a native of Harrisburg, 
Pennsylvania, and had resided there until the Autumn of 


1859, wlieii lie went to Colnmbia, Tennessee, and there 
engaged in the practice of the law, with considerable 
success. While in that State, he became acquainted 
with, and enamored of, a woman of culture and position 
— a distant relative of General Pillow — and was soon 
engaged to marry her. 

The loVe-stream of the young couple flowed smoothly 
enough until the fall of Sumter, and the secession of 
Tennessee, when the affianced husband, being a strong 
Unionist, returned home, designing to wed after the 
troubles were over. 

The betrothed pair corresponded regularly ; but, some 
weeks after her lover had gone to Ilarrisburg, the girl, 
who had suddenly grown a violent Secessionist, informed 
him she would not become his wife unless he would 
enlist in the Rebel service, and fight for the independence 
of the South. 

The young man was exceeding loth to take such a step, 
and remonstrated with his love to no purpose. At last, 
in the blindness of his attachment, and in the absorbing 
selfishness of passion, he informed his parents of his 
intention to win his mistress on the tented field. 

In vain they endeavored to dissuade him from his reso- 
lution. He returned to Tennessee, raised a company, 
received the congratulations of his traitorous friends, and 
the copious caresses of his charming tempter. 

In December, 1861, the lieutenant proceeded to Donel- 
son, with his company ; and, a few days before the 
battle, he heard his betrothed was the wife of another. 

His heart had never been in the cause, though in 
another' s keeping ; and, stung by remorse, and crushed 


by the perfidy of his mistress, he had no desire to live 
any longer in a world that had become hateful to him. 

Unwilling to desert, or resign, on the eve of battle, lest 
he might be charged with cowardice, he resolved — so he 
said, at least — to lose the existence that had become un- 
bearable to him ; and, in the thickest of the fight, seek- 
ing death, without desiring to infiict it, he received a 
mortal wound. 

The misguided and betrayed lover must soon have 
ceased to think of her who had so cruelly deceived him ; 
for, twenty-four hours after the wound, the Lethean 
stream of Death was flowing round the Eternity-bound 
island of his soul. 

The double traitress, no doubt, learned all ; for her 
lover dictated a letter to her on his conch of pain. 

Could she have been happy, even in the rosy hours of 
her early marriage, when the thought of the dead adorer, 
slain by her hand, darkened, like a portentous cloud, the 
fair horizon of her life ? 

Must not his pale corpse, with its bleeding wounds, 
have glided between her and her husband's arms, and 
banished contentment forever from the profaned sanctu- 
ary of her spirit ? 
Pshaw, that is sentiment ! 

Slie was a woman of a more practical kind. Her heart 
was made of sterner stuff*. She could laugh and mock, no 
doubt, though her sacrificed lover had stood beside her in 
his winding-sheet, asking her absolution for the sins she 
had caused him to commit. Was not the old English 
poet correct? — 

" When Woman once to Evil turns. 
All Hell within her bosom burns!" 


* * * * 

A mere Iboy, of about fifteen years, from Darke County, 
Oliio, being in Illinois, had enlisted in one of tlie regi- 
ments raised in the southern part of that State ; but, as 
he was in very delicate health, his father was extremely 
anxious to have him released from the service, though 
the youthful soldier greatly desired to remain in it. 

While at Forts Henry and Donelson, the boy was very 
ill, but still insisted upon performing his duty. His 
father arrived at Donelson on Friday, the 14th inst., in- 
tending, if possible, to take him home. 

* •?«■ * * 
While looking industriously for him among his com- 
panions, he learned, to his surprise and horror, that the 
poor boy, after fighting gallantly on Thursday, had died 
from exposure, lying, without fire or shelter, upon the 

frozen ground, on that bitter and desolate night. 

* * * * 

A lieutenant of a company in one of the Ohio regi- 
ments, while preparing for a charge, had his pipe shot 
from his mouth. He laughed, and lighted it again ; and, 
soon after, its fire was extinguished by a Rebel rifle-ball, 
which killed a man three feet from him ; and, while 
wondering at his escape, he received a shot through his 
cap, and another struck his scabbard. 

The lieutenant has since thought, no doubt, he was not 
born to die on the battle-field. 

The proverb that lightning does not strike the same 
tree twice must be truer than that balls do not design to 
do mischief to soldiers more than once during the same 


A numlber of our soldiers were wounded five, or six, 
and even seven times, at Donelson, none of tlie wounds 
proving serious ; and yet the variation of a quarter of 
an inch would have proved fatal in many of the in- 
stances. Truly — to change the aphorism — in the midst 
of death we are in life. 

The head of one of the enemy — a member of the Ala- 
bama Rifles — was shot off, the second day of the fight, by 
a Parrott rifle-gun — First Missouri Battery — at a distance 
of nearly two miles, while he was peeping above the 

A lieutenant, in an Illinois regiment, was shot with a 
musket in the left cheek, the ball passing through his 
mouth, which was open at the time, and, knocking out 
three false teeth, carried two of them into the thigh of 
Ms sergeant, who was at his side ; making a painful, but 
not serious, wound. 

* * * * 

Curious stories were told, at Donelson, of some ultra- 
professional journalists on the field, who never for a 
moment forgot their calling, or the disagreeable duties 
it imposed. They never moved out of range until they 
had completed their notes, though the shot and shell fell 
like hail ; and conducted their business as calmly as if 
they were reporting a political speech. 

One of the Correspondents is said to have locked 
General S. B. Buckner in a room at Dover, and kept him 
there, in spite of threats, until lie had taken a pencil 
sketch of his person. 

Another — so rumor says— declared to General Bushrod 
K. Johnson, that he would give him shameful ante- 


cedents, unless lie furnislied materials for a brief IdIo- 

Johnson blustered, at first ; but wlien tlie newspaper- 
scribbler began putting down and reading, in a loud 
voice : " B. K. Johnson, a native of Massachusetts, for- 
merly one of the editors of Lloyd Garrison's anti- slavery 
journal, but compelled to fly to Tennessee, on account of 
having been detected in a forgery of his father's name," 
etc. , Bushrod became a suppliant, and gave the irrepres- 
sible fellow the main events of his life. 

The representative of a New York journal is stated to 
have run up to a wounded officer of distinction, who 
believed himself mortally hurt, and begged him not to 

die yet, for the sake of the , which he had the 

honor to represent ; remarkuig, if he had any last words 
to utter, that they should appear in the best form, in the 
earliest possible issue of his widely circulated and 
highly influential journal. 

The officer turned away his head in abhorrence and 
disgust, and some of his friends compelled the painfully 
persevering correspondent to retire ; but the professor of 
the quill insisted he could make a better speech for the 
wounded soldier than he could make for himself, and 
expressed the hope that he would not give any member 
of the Press the least hint of his dying sentiments, under 
any circumstances whatever. 

I am very anxious to believe, for the honor of journal- 
ism, such stories are untrue ; but I fear they have some 
foundation, as there are men in our profession, who, in 
the discharge of their duties, forget they are any thing 
but machines, and, to the furtherance of their duties. 


sacrifice every sentiment of humanity and every prompt- 
ing of sensibility. 

Tliey do not know tliat tlie mistaken journalist, who 
loses sight of what "belongs to a gentleman, may earn 
success in his vocation, but must forever despair of the 
respect and esteem that render his profession not only 
useful but honorable. 




The Departure for the Rebel StrongJiold. — Uncertainty of the Situation. — Doubts 
and Apprehensions. — Pleasant Discovery. — Enthusiasm on Board the Flotilla. 
— Abortive Defenses of the Enemy. — Evidences of Excessive Orthodoxy. — 
Superstition and Swagger. — Pilces and Long Knives in Abundance. 

For some days before the Union Flotilla left Cairo, 
there were reports that Columbus had been evacuated; 
and though there were many external signs to corroborate 
the impression, no one knew what the condition of affairs 
was at the Rebel stronghold. 

Commodore Foote determined, on the 4th of March, 
1862, to acquire that important information ; and before 
dawn every thing was in readiness, and the gunboats and 
transports steamed down the river, their officers profusely 
speculating whether they would have a fight or a peace- 
ful occupation. 

The Tribune Correspondent was on the Illinois, and, 
as we moved down the Mississippi, it was amusing to 
hear the conversation and questions in the pilot-house, 
where another Bohemian and Colonel Buford were also 
standing, all with glasses in their hands. 

The gunboats were just in advance of us, steaming very 
slowly and cautiously, for they feared the Rebels, as had 
been often declared, had laid a trap for the "barbarous 


We were in direct range, Ibelow the island opposite the 
fortifications, and glasses were anxiously sweeping the 
Eastern and Western horizon. 

We thought we descried large guns plainly, and some 
one said, "I see men iDehind the l^reastworks. The 
Rebels are about to fire. Those immense guns will sink 
us like an eggshell." 

That cheering intelligence caused silence for a few 
seconds; but some one laughed, and said: "Let the 
Rebels fire, and be d d." 

They did not fire ; but I am quite sure they will be 
d d, if the Calvinistic theology be true. 

"Do you see that fiag ?" was inquired. "Those are 
Rebel colors." "I see more cavalry." "The Rebels 
are coming down the bluif." "The battle is about to 

"Wasn't that a cannon?" "They are running — see 
them on the hill," "Are those their tents 'f "They 
are burning them — do you see the fire ?" 

"A few minutes, and we'll know all about it, boys," 
observed the bluff old pilot. "Beauregard's a cunning 
fox." "He is there, you maybe sure. He wouldn't 
desert such a stronghold. He' s only waiting to get us 
under his guns, and open on us." "I'll bet there are 
thousands of the enemy behind those breastworks." 
"Yes, indeed, you'll see them soon enough." "I want 
our mortar-boats to begin. They'll give the rebels the 
devil — won't they ?" 

Such were the fragments of conversation on the trans- 
port, as she proceeded slowly down the river in the rear 
of the gunboats. 


The morning was rather pleasant, but hazy, and wliile 
we were straining our eyes to penetrate the attractive 
distance, a soft Ibreeze, which we felt bathing our faces 
with early Spring, lifted the flag upon the Kentucky bluffs, 
and the glorious old Stars and Stripes shone out bright 
and clear. 

Columbus had already been occupied by a regiment of 
our cavalry which had proceeded there by land. At that 
moment our hats were off, and three cheers for the Union 
rang out across the silent bosom of the Mississippi. 

The cry was caught up from the gunboats, and the 
distant bluffs echoed the joyous shout. 

Our bands played "Dixie" — that detestable air which 
I am sorry Secessia has not been allowed to monopolize 
— and with waving hats and banners, we were soon pass- 
ing the Rebel fortifications, whose guns had been dis- 
mounted — and steaming into the landing of the famed 
and fearful town. 

As soon as the distance rendered it possible, I leaped 
on shore, and struggled hurriedly up the lofty bluff on 
which the chief works of the enemy were located. 

For five or six hours I occupied myself in walking over 
the enemy' s works, through their deserted barracks and 
the town, up and down the ravines, over the fallen tim- 
ber, climbing the bluffs, stumbling through the rayless 
magazines, and seeing, in a word, all that it was possible 
for me to see. 

Two heavy iron cables were thrown across the Missis- 
sippi, and secured at each end by immense anchors ; but 
both had been broken. 

Any quantity of torpedoes had been sunk in the river, 

90 rOUR YEAES m seoessia. 

but tliey were as harmless as a pretty school-girl who 
does the tragedy at a literary exhibition 

About one hundred of these submarine* failures were 
piled up on the banks, with accompanying buoys and 
anchors, and they looked as innocent as unrewarded 
virtue. They must have been rejected members of the 
Peace Society ; and if one would have tied a white cravat 
about them, they would have passed for the meekest of 

The enemy at Columbus must have been extremely 
jocose. I found a number of Valentines the troops had 
sent each other, with droll letters, showing their fondness 
for, and ajDpreciation of, humor. 

We found a number of stuffed figures of President 
Lincoln, General McClellan, Horace Greeley, and others, 
represented in the most grotesque form, and always asso- 
ciated in some way with the gallows and with negroes. 
They were "gotten up" with bottles in their hands in 
every instance, and some ultra- Abolition sentiment in- 
variably ascribed to them. Some of their jests would 
have been sufficiently apt a few weeks before, but then 
they were inappropriate enough. 

In the deserted camps and abandoned barracks we 
found various letters and documents, all breathing the 
most fervent spirit of orthodoxy, the loftiest appeals to 
Providence, the largest faith in its determination to over- 
throw the wicked Yankees, who would not let the saintly 
Rebels alone in the enjoyment of their rights. 

Not satisfied with the most ardent irrational appeals to 
the strongest prejudices and worst passions of their blind 
followers, the Rebels seek to impress them with the 


mockery that God is in tlieir favor and fighting tlieir bat- 
tles for tliem ; that He sometimes preserves, as Kentucky 
tried to do, an armed neutrality, to humble their pride, 
and prove how little they can effect without His all- 
powerful aid. 

What a jest is that ! What a gross impiety it must 
seem to some ! 

The idea of the Almighty arraying Himself on the side 
of Treason, Oppression, Cruelty, and Slavery, would be 
monstrous, if it were not ridiculous. 

Murderers might as well pray to Him to shield them 
from harm during the progress of their assassinations, or 
profligates ask His assistance in the betrayal of an inno- 
cent maid, as they invoke the protection of Heaven, or- 
claim its sympathy with their unholy cause. 

Knowing that many, perhaps most, men have a strong- 
religious bias, and believe in special providence, the- 
demagogues of the South endeavor to profit by such 
mental conditions. 

They turn to Superstition when Reason fails, compre- 
hending that early teachings and inflammatory appeals, 
are more potent in the bosom of most mortals than ac- 
quired knowledge and dispassionate argument. 

If we were to believe the Southern press, we would be- 
compelled to acknowledge God as the vicegerent of the' 
"Confederacy,'- and the chief, though invisible, member 
of its traitorous cabinet ; Abraham Lincoln and the devil 
as sworn friends, who had formed a plan to destroy the- 
"last remnant of liberty on earth." 

If God is with the Rebels, say I, let us accept the devil 

as a loyal citizen, with his tail, horns, hoofs, and his 


large interest in the "brimstone trade, tliat tlie Calvinists 
liave assigned to Ms sulphurous majesty. 

* * •^t 4fr 

A large number of pikes, and of those murderous- 
looking knives with which the Rebels were . to strike at 
once terror and death to the hearts of the North, were 
found at Columbus, and seized as trophies. 

On every battle-field, and in every evacuated position, 
these knives have been picked up by our victorious 
soldiers. It would seem the enemy manufactured them 
not for use, but show ; intending to prove, by their ex- 
posure, with what a terrible set of fellows the North 
had to deal. 

In ancient days, the valor of a nation was determined 
by the shortness of its weapons ; but I opine the nation 
did something more than tlirow them away at the ap- 
proach of real danger. 

I have never known an instance in which the Rebels 
used, or attempted to use, those knives, so savage in 
•semblance ; and I must conclude they were designed to 
•produce a moral effect. 

The pikes they have never employed, either, against 
their foes ; nor will they, from present appearances, for 
some time to come. 

They do not seem to comprehend their proper use ; 
thougli, if we had believed the Southern papers, they 
were to be among the cliief means of liberating secession 
from the yoke of its oppressors. 

They proved serviceable to our men in climbing the 
steep bluffs of Columbus, though they did not deem 
•them adapted to the sanguinary pursuits of war. 




The Three Days' Fighting. — Desperate Struggle for tlie Possession of the Train. 
— Sigel's Heroism. — Tremendous Contest for the Guns. — Hand to Hand Com- 
bats. — An Epic of War. — Triumph of the Republic. — Retreat of the Rebels. 

The Rebels, before they began tlie now memorable 
battle of Pea Ridge, in Benton County, Arkansas, on 
Thursday morning, March 6th, 1862, were entirely con- 
fident of success, and their chief concern was only how 
to destroy or capture our whole force. 

General Curtis anticipated an attack on the South, and 
accordingly had the train placed on the IN'orth side, 
under the protection of General Sigel, with a body of 
eight hundred men — the principal Union encampment 
and main lines being to the eastward, near the head 
and on both sides of Sugar Creek. 

Meantime, the Rebel forces were moving in full 
strength from Bentonville, whence they had proceeded 
from Cross Hollows, and with rapid marches were 
endeavoring to cross the creek, and, by placing them- 
selves on the ISTorth, to cut off any attempt on our part to 

An advance of about two thousand cavalry reached the 
desired position, and made a fierce onslaught on Sigel, 
hoping to take possession of our large and valuable 


Sigel proved himself the right man in the right place. 
He gallantly met the enemy, and, while he repelled his 
charge, prevented him from seizing our wagons. 

The l)rave and accomplished officer seemed nhiquitous. 
He rode rapidly here and there, giving orders and ob- 
serving the point of attack and the situation of the 
enemy, at the same time cheering and encouraging his 

Often he was in the thickest of the fight, and yet he 
was always cool, calculating, and skillful, exposing 
himself as a common soldier, and yet preserving the 
calm judgment of a commander-in-chief. 

Sigel' s desire was to keep the communication open 
between himself and the main camp, while the enemy's 
design was to cut oflf that • avenue for the obtainment 
of re-enforcements. 

The Rebels closed round him with tumultuous shouts, 
and believed they had accomplished their purpose, when 
Sigel rushed in upon them with his brave followers, and 
compelled them to give Avay. 

Sigel could not abandon the train ; and so he fought 
on, and exhorted his men to renewed hope and courage 
by his example. 

For two hours the strife went on with great ardor 
on both sides, but it seemed as if the Unionists would 
soon be compelled to yield. 

There seemed no hope for them ; that they must be- 
come exhausted ; and doubtless they would have done 
so, had their destiny been in less powerful and ex- 
perienced hands than Sigel' s. 

The waves of opposition rolled around Sigel' s- coura- 


geous "band once more ; and again the traitorous sliout 
went up to the sky, and swept like a note of victory 
along the rising hill. 

Many a stout loyal heart doubtless sank when that cry 
was heard ; but Sigel had no thought of failure. 

He was fighting for his adopted country and the 
salvation of his little band ; and, ordering three com- 
panies of his men to charge bayonets, the Rebel cavalry 
were dispersed, and the way was open once more. 

Still no re- enforcements came, and our gallant soldiers 
appeared contending for a forlorn hope. 

About the trains the din of strife rose louder than 
before, and the rattle of musketry and the boom of cannon 
awoke the surrounding echoes. 

The enemy was losing ground. He rallied, and fell 
with redoubled force on our heroic band, two hundred 
of whom had already sealed their patriotism with their 

The combat was hand to hand. Horsemen were dis- 
mounted and struggling with the infantry, while the 
otRcers were sometimes seen defending themselves against 
the advancing bayonets of the common soldiers. 

A superhuman effort on the part of the enemy, and a 
third time the Unionists were surrounded. 

Firmer and firmer were the Rebel^closing round the 
five or six hundred braves, who were evidently going to 
the wall. 

The sun of Hope seemed sinking, though that of Nature 
was shining clear from out the quiet sky. 

Sigel saw the smile of Heaven only, and would not 
despond. His eye flashed and his form expanded as 


the shouts of the enemy rose above the din of the 

Only one way was left. 

"Follow me!" thundered Sigel, and his proud steed 
trampled an approaching Rebel under his liery feet. 

A deep, strong, earnest cry from the Unionists, and 
they met the foe with the rush of determination and the 
energy of despair. 

The Secession line could not endure the shock. It 
recoiled, was thrown into confusion, and retu'ed from a 
position that had been deemed as secure as the Alpine 
peaks. And Sigel was victorious, with the sun still 
beaming clearly out of the quiet sky. 

The train was saved. 

The first day was won. 

The prestige of success was established, and the Future 
looked blue with hope as the violets of the early year. 

The enemy, during the night and early the following 
morning, March 7tli, poured in from the Bentonville road, 
and gathered in heavy force to our rear ; sweeping round 
to the right, and occupying both sides of the Keetsville 
road — a position from which it was absolutely necessary 
to dislodge him, or surrender all hope of success. 

Truly, before the second day' s engagement began, the 
prospect was very dark. Defeat seemed to stare us in 
the face, aud the sole thing possible appeared a struggle 
to prevent too disastrous a discomfiture. 

The way to Missouri was defended by thirty thousand 
of the enemy, and we had little more than one-third the 
nuiftber to dispute the perilous passage. 

On the South were the Boston Mountains. To the East 


or West we could not go. Were we not hemmed in hj 
nature and the enemy ? • 

Could we longer resist ? Could we saj we were con- 
tending only for victory, when the shadows were length- 
ening and deepening on our hearts ? 

General Carr was sent by General Curtis to force the 
enemy from his position, and about ten o'clock in the 
morning the battle was renewed with increased ardor, and 
soon the batteries from both sides were replying to each 
other with death-dealing voices. 

The main action in the morning was to the right of our 
encampment, and for seven hours the field was hotly 

General Carr made a spirited and heavy charge upon 
the enemy under McCulloch and Price. 

The musket and rifle firing was very sharp, and every 
few seconds the boom of the batteries burst across the 
country, and the iron hail swept down the stream of life, 
and filled the surging, noisy waves with spectral 

The Rebels reeled as we went against them, but their 
column did not break. 

The charge was repeated. 

Still the foe stood firm, opening a galling fire from two 
batteries whose presence had not before been known. 

Our troops were thrown into confusion, and three com- 
panies of infantry and Colonel Ellis's cavalry were 
ordered to silence the destructive guns. 

Like lightning our men leaped forth prompt to the 
word, and raged about the Rebel batteries as ravenous 
wolves around a sheep-fold. Everywhere the strife 


roared ; everywhere the smoke crept ; everywhere the 
ground shook. 

The sunbeams glanced off from the swords and bay- 
onets, but they ceased to shine for many eyes on that 
blood-stained day. 

Carr' s column advanced and fell back, and advanced 
again ; and beyond them, up the hill, the cavalry and 
infantry were struggling to capture the detested guns. 

The regiment which protected the batteries met them 
fairly and freely, and for half an hour the two combatants 
were so commingled that they almost failed to recognize 
one another, 

"Our men have the batteries!" was announced, and 
the Unionists made the welkin ring with their huzzas. 

Yes, it was so ! 

Through the blue curling vapors our men could be seen 
dragging the guns after them. 

Ere they had gone a hundred yards, the Rebels were 
behind them ; struggling like Hercules for the reposses- 
sion of the pieces. 

Blood streamed anew, and shouts, and groans, and 
prayers, and curses went up with the gigantic forms of 
smoke into the upper air. 

Appropriate incense to waft the elements of battle to 
the skies. 

No noise now. All is silent, as when men are holding 
their breath for a deadly struggle. 

The suspense is awful. It cannot last. 

Do you not hear a thousand hearts beat across the 
plain ? Anxiety has made the roar of battle almost inau- 
dible — so keenly is the sense upon the rack. 


.Countless throats are roaring witli triumpli. 

Brief triumph ! The "batteries are lost. Our men have 
l^een overpowered by numbers. Thej retire, and blood 
marks their progress, and many dead are abandoned. 

The recaptured guns are revenging themselves. Their 
shot and shell are plowing up the ground, and tearing 
open brave bosoms, and making history, and peopling 

The batteries are sought once more. We win them 
back with blood. We are hurrying them off. The 
Rebels stare like demons out of malignant eyes, and 
curse through firm-set teeth. 

Triumph is about to crown our efforts, when a large 
force of the enemy, repulsed by General Davis from that 
section of Pea Ridge known as Leetown, throng to the 

A dozen combats over the guns, and the contest is 
still undecided, when the darkness gathers, and through 
the night the enemy is seen bearing off his twice-cap- 
tured, twice-recaptured guns. 

]Srature is no longer an impartial witness. 

She draws the curtain ; and the camp-fires blaze along 
the roads, and light up the trees. 

Man' s Pandemonium is profaning the holy Night. 

Midnight comes, and the scattered words of the 
sentinels are heard ; and the Unionists and Rebels 
are sleeping on their arms ; dreaming, it may be, of the 
time when they were friends and brothers, and America 
had not become one vast military camp. 

The stars, too, are keeping watch on the battlements of 


They challenge no one. They seem to say to all the 
weary and worn, " Come hither ! Here is peace." 

Speak they, or l)e they forever silent, there are many 
spirits in the air seeking peace that is not of Earth. 

At six o'clock on the morning of the 8th, onr gnns 
opened on the enemy, and our fire was returned from 
twenty pieces. 

The firing did little harm. The enemy' s shot passed 
over our heads. Our cause was growing darker. That 
day must win or lose the battle. 

As yet, the fortunes of war incline to neither side. We 
have reason to be alarmed ; but hope and courage are 
firm counselors, and add strength to weak arms. 

General Sigel observes new positions for our opera- 
tions. We plant six batteries at different points com- 
manding their principal forces. A fire of ball is shatter- 
ing the space with its roar. 

The enemy' s list of mortality is swelling. He does not 
understand our great advantages ; he turns pale, and 
hesitates to advance. 

No time is given him for refiection ; he is in the midst 
of his soul's perplexity, while judgment tosses in 
fevered sleep. 

Our entire infantry is engaged. The Rebels meet our 
dreadful volleys of musketry for a quarter of an hour ; 
but their firing, slackens. 

Still our batteries are forcing the verdict of the out- 
raged nation into their startled souls. 

The cannon answers the musketry ; the musketry 
replies to the cannon. 

Every inch of ground appears alive with troops ; 


every twig and dry leaf seems ablaze. The balls are 
falling like tlie large drops of a summer sliower. The 
Pentecost of war is descending. 

The Rebels can endure no longer the sheet of flame, 
out of which go Death and Pain in a thousand forms. 

They have lost their faith in their bad cause and them- 
selves. They are panic-stricken. They fly, and a roar 
of victory follows them, as the waves of the river the 
lean and hungry shore. 

They turn not back. Two of their Generals have 
received their mortal wounds, and the word is : " Save 
himself who can." 

The Unionists have beaten them, and their star has set 
over the verdureless ridge of that hard-fought field. 

The birds twitter overhead. The sun shines warmer 
and clearer. 

The atmosphere of blood is purified by the feeling that 
it was shed in a sacred cause. 

The Spring greets the victors, and kisses their burning 
brows with the same pure lips that call forth the early 

IsTature rejoices over the triumph of principle ; for 
iN'ature is the Order and the Law. 

The Unionists pursue the broken columns ; and the 
breezes come wafting the victorious shouts ; and the in- 
cense of the youthful March, revealing that all is well, 
and that the Future is secure. 

* « * •?«■ 

Concerning the death of G-enerals McCuUoch and Mc- 
intosh, there seems to be but one opinion. Both of them 
were mortally wounded on Friday, during the heavy 


fighting by General Jeff. C. Davis against the center 
column of the enemy. It will he remembered the Rebels 
gave way, and the two Southern chieftains made the 
most determined efforts to rally them in vain. 

McCuUoch was struck with a Minie rifle-ball in the 
left breast — as I am assured by one who says he saw him 
fall, and after he was takep from the ground — while 
waving his sword and encouraging. his men to stand firm. 
He died of his wounds about eleven o' clock the same 
night ; though he insisted that he would recover, repeat- 
edly saying with great oaths that he was not born to be 
killed by a Yankee. 

A few minutes before he expired, his physician assured 
him he had but a very brief time to live. At this Ben. 
looked up incredulously, and saying, "Oh, Hell !" turned 
away his head, and never spoke after. 

The Southern papers no doubt have put some very fine 
sentiment into his mouth in his closing moments ; but the 
last words I have mentioned are declared by a prisoner 
to be correct. They are not very elegant nor very 
dramatic, but quite expressive, and, in McCulloch' s case, 
decidedly appropriate. 

It is reported that Mcintosh was struck near the right 
hip with a grapeshot, while giving an order to one of his 
aids, and hurled from his horse. 

The wound was a ghastly one, and though it must have 
been very painful, Mcintosh uttered no groan, but calmly 
gave directions for his treatment. A few minutes after, he 
fell into a comatose state, from which he never recovered 
— passing through Death's dark portal while his attend- 
ants supposed he still lay beside the golden gates of Sleep. 




Facts and Fancies from Pea Sidge. — The Preservative Power of Tobacco. — A. 
Song-Book doing tlie Work of aBible. — Mysterious Instance of Sympalliy. — 
Another Fabian dei Franchi. — Painful Fate of a Union Lieutenant. — A Reclc- 
less Indianian. — A Magnanimous Rebel. — A G-allant Iowa Colonel. 

A FTTMBER of singular and interesting incidents oc- 
curred on the field of Pea Pidge, some of wliich. are 
worth, relating, even at this late day. 

A private of the Twelfth Missouri was advancing 
toward the head of the Hollows, on Saturday, with his 
regiment, under a heavy fire from the enemy stationed on 
a hill above, when he was struck by a musket-ball near 
the heart, and thrown heavily to the earth. 

The poor fellow thought no doubt his last moment had 
come ; but after lying for some time on the ground, and 
feeling no pain, he thought he would see, if possible, 
where he was hit. 

He rose, and opened his vest, and discovered a bullet 
half imbedded in a large, thick, moist layer of tobacco 
which he had ■ stolen the day before, and placed under 
his garment for concealment. 

The moist condition of the tobacco had prevented the 
leaden messenger from fulfilling its fatal mission. 

The tobacco was all that had interfered between him 
and Heaven. 


Had he cause to lament or rejoice ? 

Who knows ? 

Wliat philosopher can determine whether it 1)6 l)etter to 
live or die ? 

The soldier, not being a philosopher, rejoiced. 

Most men would have done likewise ; for not many of 
us mortals have time to die ; and in America few can 
afford it, though we indulge in the luxury at a most 
ruinous rate. 

Let no one say hereafter there is no virtue in stealing. 

There the act preserved a brave fellow's life to his 

For the sake of the time-honored tradition and all Sun- 
day Schools, I am sorry to say I have heard of no instance 
in which a life was saved by a Bible ; and I am bound to 
believe the fact is owing to the great scarcity of the sacred 
volume in the army, rather than to any want of preserv- 
ing power in the Holy Book itself. 

* * -Tt * 

Of a secular song-book, rather ribald in character, I 
fear, I can relate a different story. 

One of the Thirty- Sixth Illinois troops carried a volume 
of the sort in his cap, and a small rifle-ball passed through 
the cloth and stunned him. He afterward found the 
bullet had gone through one of the corners of the book, 
and when he removed it, the metallic fate fell from tlie 

I can only account for the phenomenon by supposing 
that the verses of the songs were so execrable, tliat the 
ball, like any reader of good taste, could not, by any pos- 
sibility, get more tlian half way through the contents. 


Can it "be said hereafter of the Illinois volunteer tliat 
his life was not worth a song ? 

% * * * 

The suhtle and mysterious power of sympathy, senti- 
mental metaphysicians have sought fruitlessly to unravel, 
and Dumas, in the " Corsican Brothers," has pictured the 
phenomena in its fullness. 

A very strange example of the influence of sympathy 
is reported to have occurred during the battle on Friday. 

Hiram P. Lord, of the Twenty-fifth Missouri, Colonel 
Phelps, while charging up a ravine, fell as if dead, and 
his companions ran to him and asked if he was hurt. 

He did not answer, for he had swooned. 

On reviving, he said he must have been struck by a 
ball, for he felt a pain in his left side, and had distinctly 
experienced the stunning sensation that results from a 
gun-shot wound. 

His person was examined, and no mark or indication 
of injury was perceptible. • 

He could not comprehend the mystery, but soon after 
resumed the fight, and forgot the sensation until he had 
returned to the camp, when he learned, to his surprise and 
sorrow, that his twin brother George was among the dead. 

G-eorge had been in another part of the field, and had 
been shot in the same part of the body, and at the same 
time, that Hiram had believed himself mortally wounded. 

The sympathy between the two brotliers had ever been 
complete, and the illness of one was usually accompanied 
by the sickness of the other. 

Strange, if true, say many ; but the stranger, the truer, 
declare the students of Nature. 


A melancholy incident occurred to a lieutenant (whose 
name I was unable to learn) in one of the Iowa companies, 
that I cannot forbear mentioning. 

He had been shot in the leg, and had fallen. He rose, 
and supporting 'himself upon a stump, urged his com- 
pany, whose captain had been killed, to push on in the 
then important crisis toward the re-enforcement of Gen- 
eral Carr. 

While the lieutenant was waving his sword, an artil- 
lery wagon was driven madly along the road, by the 
side of which he was standing. The wheel struck him, 
threw him to the ground, and the heavy carriage passed 
over his neck, causing his instant death. 

Poor fellow ! I saw rude men weep over his corpse, 
and they proved themselves braver and truer for their 

* . * * * 

A private in the Eighteenth Indiana had been left 
behind for some reason, when his regiment was ordered 
to the upper part of the Ridge. Before it reached there, 
it became engaged with the Rebels, and was cut off. 

The Indianian resolved to join his companions in arms, 
though persuaded not to do so, as it was madness to 
make the attempt. 

He heeded not counsel, but hurried forward, and was 
last seen contending with a score of foes. 

His fate is unknown, but he must have perished. 

^ ¥: ^ ¥: 

Where there was so much valor, there were some 
individual instances of its opposite, but very, very 
few ; for timidity is a quality little known to American 


soldiers, fighting in the cause of freedom, and the Repub- 
lic they have sworn to protect. 

A soldier, whose nerves, poor fellow, " were weaker 
than his will, climbed into a tree during the severe 
fight of Friday ; and while there a round shot acci- 
dentally struck him, and hurled him, a bloody and 
irrecognizable mass, to the ground. 

Had the soldier remained where his duty ordered, he 
would probably have been living still. The poet sang 
truly : — 

"The coward often finds the death he shuns, 
In that his di'unken fear his sober judgment clouds." 

* * * * 

Even Secession cannot crush the noble instincts of the^ 
heart. Even a Rebel often has the generous qualitfes of 
Nature, and the lofty instincts of a gentleman.. 

A Colonel of one of the Louisiana regiments saw a 
poor private, a Unionist, lying wounded aloue by the, 
roadside, and begging for a drink. 

The Colonel dismounted, and^ taking the. soldier's 
canteen, went to the creek and filled it,, gave him a drink, 
and placed him in an easier position ;; and all that while, 
our bullets were flying thick in his immediate viGinity.. 

I am very sorry I do not know the gallant ColoneFs 
name. He never did a nobler act on the battle-field. 
He has some reason to boast of chivalry, though I / 
doubt if he does so. 

If the South comprehended chivalry as he compre- 
hends it, their assumption of that high attribute would, 
not render it a subject of jest and an object of scorn. 


Lieutenant- Colonel Herron of the Ninth Iowa, now 
Major-General, was wounded in the Ibattle and taken 
prisoner, though he lost his liberty through no fault 
of his, as he seemed determined to die rather than 
fall into Rebel hands. He was surrounded by ten or 
twelve of the enemy, and his surrender demanded in 

He killed one and wounded three of the Rebels, and 
was making every resistance with his sword, when his 
arms were seized, and his opposition rendered impossi- 
ble. He would have been slain most assuredly, had 
not a Southern major saved his life, and shot an Indian 
dead who was trying to butcher him after his arms were 
bound with a handkerchief. 




Aboriginal Outrages and Barbarities at Pea Ridge. — Minds of the Savages poi- 
Boned by the Rebels. — "Whisky and Gunpowder Stimulant. — The Indians Scalp 
Friend and Foe Alike. — Slaughter of the Red Men by their own Allies. 

The tliree tliousand Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, and 
Seminole Indians, under Colonel Albert Pike, a renegade 
son of Connecticut, committed the greatest atrocities on 
the field of Pea Ridge ; not only plundering and maim- 
ing the dead, but actually murdering and scalping the 
wounded as they lay helpless and suffering on the 

More than one hundred and twenty of our brave men 
were thus barbarously treated by the savage foe, who 
had been wrought to a pitch of frenzy by tlie Rebels, 
through passionate appeals, and declarations that the 
''Yankees" designed to enslave them, and force them, 
with chains and whips, to do the vilest drudgery in 
their aristocratic homes in the ISTorth. 

ISTot only did the enemy thus poison their minds, but 
every day, before the savages went into action, it is 
reported, they received large potations of whiskey mixed 
with gunpowder, which rendered the naturally fierce 
sons of the forest perfect demons. 

Under such extraordinary stimulant, they forgot their 
usual caution, and, exposing themselves after the Ameri- 
can fashion, were killed in great numbers. 


Still, they were very .formidable, and often attacked 
tlie Unionists in the rear, as tliey were passing tome 
"bend in the road or piece of wooded land, and did 
much execution. 

They yelled, and danced, and brandished their knives, 
and acted like madmen ; but when they grew partially 
sober, became more prudent, and fought after their 
time-honored fashion, from behind trees and fallen 

When our troops discovered on the second day that 
the Indians were using the scalping-knife, their rage 
knew no bounds, and they made sad havoc in the ranks 
of the red devils, slaying them without mercy whenever 
and wherever they could reach them. 

In one instance, the Second Iowa Battery, which had 
four of its members scalped, obtained the range of a 
body of four or five hundred of the savages, and fired 
several charges of cannister and shell upon them in 
rapid succession, at a distance of not more than a quar- 
ter of a mile. 

The effect upon the aborigines was terrible. They 
were cut down like grass, and the dusky demons who 
were unhurt ran howling from the field, and could not be 
rallied again on tliat day (Friday), though Colonel 
Albert Pike, it is said, shot several with his own hand, 
and bawled at them until he was hoarse. 

Sonie ten or twelve of the chiefs were killed, whose 
names I can not undertake to give. 

One of them, a Seminole, was very famous as a warrior 
in his tribe, and, though over fifty years of age, was 
athletic and daring to an extraordinary degree. 


He is said to have fouglit with the celelbrated Red 
Jacket in Florida, during the Seminole w^r, and bore 
tipon his person no less than twenty wounds. 

It is said the Indians, in the engagement of Friday, 
"became so excited by the alcohol they had drank and 
the scenes they witnessed, that they turned their weapons 
upon^ their own allies, and butchered and scalped the 
Rebels and Unionists with the most charming indif- 

An instance of that was given by one of our prisoners, 
a member of one of the companies that suffered from 
what the Southerners believed to be the treachery of the 

Four companies of Arkansas infantry, belonging to Ben 
McCuUoch's division, were marching up one of the ridges 
north of Sugar Creek, on Saturday, to strengthen the 
enemy, who was hardly pressed by General Sigel. 

Tlie Arkansans had come in sight of about three hun- 
dred Creeks and Choctaws, who stood on the brow of an 
adjacent hill, and were within about one hundred and 
fifty yards of the savages, when the latter opened fire 
on them. 

The Rebel Major who commanded the battalion cried 
out to them, that they were killing their friends ; but the 
Indians did not heed what he said, and again discharged 
their pieces. 

"The d d rascals have turned traitors," cried the 

Major. "Upon them, Arkansans, and give them no 

The Southerners needed no second order. 

They attacked them with great energy, and for nearly 


an hour a desperate "battle was waged on the Ridge ; the 
Indians fighting with blind fury, and scalping all who 
fell into their hands, whether living, wounded, or dead. 

That was described as one of the severest actions of 
the entire battle, and the Indians, who were finally 
routed, are said to have lost one hundred and twenty-five 
in killed and wounded. 




Semi-Barbarism of the People. — Benton County as an Example. — Extent of the 
Conscription. — Modem Harpies in the Shape of "Women. — The Loyal Sentiment 
of the State. — Chivalrous Mode of its Suppression. 

The semi-barbarous condition of Arkansas has become 
proverbial in this country ; and yet no one who has not 
traveled in the State can have any just idea of the igno- 
rance and immorality that prevail there. 

If a foreigner were set down in that Patagonia of places, 
and told that it was one of the component parts of the 
Great Republic, famous for its school-houses, railways, 
and newspapers, he would not believe a story so appar- 
ently self- contradictory. 

In Benton County, in which Pea Ridge was fought, one 
sees very few indications of civilization, and it would 
seem an anomaly if loyalty ever could have flourished 
%n such barren soil. 

The population was not then, and is not now, over 
eighteen hundred, though it once boasted of four thou- 
sand. The dwellings were usually miles apart, and made 
of logs and mud, presenting a most cheerless and squalid 
appearance. ISTo one was at home save women and chil- 
dren, and the old men, and very few of them ; even 
those of sixty years, who were not diseased, having been 
impressed into the Rebel army. 


The women were only such, in name ; their sex, in their 
absence of physiological demonstration, requiring to he 
taken on faith. 

'Tall, meagre, sallow, with hard features and large 
hones, they would have appeared masculine if they had 
not heen too attenuated to suggest the possibility of 
health or strength. 

They drank whisky and smoked as freely as men ; 
often chewed tobacco, and went about swearing in dis- 
cordant tones, and expectorating skillfully, and were as 
hideous as any Tophetian trollops that the most de- 
praved mind could imagine. 

Very few of the common people — and Heaven knows 
they were common enough — could read or wi'ite ; and it 
was not unusuftl to find but one or two in a township so 
blessed beyond their kind. 

Ignorance and crime were inseparable companions, and 
it was no wonder vice there assumed many of its lowest 
and most disgusting forms. 

The life led was one of brutalized sense and dissipa- 
tion. Practical amalgamation, gambling, and fighting were 
the end and aim of Arkansas existence. ]S"ot many of 
the people had been out of tliQ State — just think of at 
being that had no idea beyond or above that Boeotia — and 
they lived, if I may employ so inappropriate a verb, and 
died there unpenetrated by a ray of Beauty ; unlifted by 
a hope of Advancement ; undeveloped by a thought of 

Among some of the farmers in that county were men 
of considerable intelligence, but they were generally 
from other States. 


The true Arkansan Iviiows nothing, and learns nothing. 
He regards education in every form as a Yankee inven- 
tion that has a tendency to interfere with the institution 
of slavery, which many of the poor whites adore, because 
they own no negroes. 

With several of the most intelligent people in Benton 
County, and with some of the prisoners, I conversed on 
the subject of the Union sentiment in Arkansas ; and 
they said the people, strange as it may seem, would never 
have gone with the "Confederacy," if they had been 
allowed to determine the question for themselves. 

Throughout the entire State men went as emissaries of 
Secession, and told the people they must go out of the 
Union if they did not wish to be deprived of their 
slaves and ruled by the "Yankees," who would compel 
them to perform all menial offices. 

Their property, their wives, their children would be 
taken from them ; they would exchange position with 
their negroes, and the latter be made their masters. 

Those arguments even the Arkansans could compre- 
hend, and, in a few weeks after the diflPusion of such 
nefarious sentiments, the State was thrown into a terrible 
excitement. . 

A reaction occurred. A few thinking Union men 
enlightened the half-crazed community, and told them 
they were deceived ; that Secession would ruin them ; 
that their only safety was in the Union, and that Presi- 
dent Lincoln had no disposition and no intention to inter- 
fere with any of their constitutional rights. 

The advice came too late. The Rebels had by that 
time gained the power by seizing all the arms and organ- 


izing tliemselves tliroughout the State ; and thereafter 
they had full and absolute sway. 

They pillaged and destroyed wherever they went, and 
the people found their worst enemies were at home. 

Terror-stricken, they yielded, for they knew their lives 
were in the hands of the oppressors, and after that period 
hardly a man had dared to lift his voice against the out- 
rageous tyranny imposed upon the State. 

Perhaps the oppressed were wise in their reticence, 
for the means of enforcing eternal silence were not 

Men were often carried off by armed bands who broke 
into quiet habitations at unseasonable hours of the night ; 
were whipped, tarred and feathered ; dragged through 
horse-ponds, and often hanged or otherwise murdered, 
because they were charged with disloyalty to the South. 

Loyalty to the Union was the unpardonable offense, 
and the individual suspected of any such sentiment was 
liable to assassination anywhere. 

Hundreds of men escaped from the confines of the 
State, leaving their families and all their property behind, 
fearing to remain longer where their lives were not worth 
a moment' s purchase. 

Any scoundrel could make an accusation against an 
honest citizen that would destroy his life, or drive him, 
an outcast and an exile, from his home and all the asso- 
ciations he held dear. 




A Weary Siege. — Inaneness of Existence on the Flotilla. — Monotony and Dreari- 
ness of the Scenes. — Melancholy Character of the Mighty River. — Out in the 
Night. — A Celestial Symbol. — A Canine Convert. — A Perplexed Correspond- 
ent, and Would-be Bohemian. 

During the latter part of tlie month of March, 1862, 
we were "besieging Island No. 10, and, for several weeks, 
life on the National Flotilla was dull enough. 

There we were anchored in the midst of the mighty 
river, or tied to the submerged trees, watching the 
occasional shells from the mortars, the turbid eddying of 
the swollen stream, or the leaden sky that hung over the 
dreary scene like a funeral pall. 

We could go nowhere except on one of the little tugs 
that plied ceaselessly from gunboat to gunboat, and 
transport to transport ; and then we could not imagine 
the direction of our journeying, or anticipate the time of 
our return. 

The Mississippi was shoreless ; no land was visible ; 
and so we paced the deck of the vessel and gazed out into 
the dull, dreary waste of waters, and listened to the rush 
of the waves, and the whirl of the eddies, until the mind 
stagnated and the spirit sank. 

We had no books to peruse, no papers to read, no 
letters to expect, no women even to tease or talk to ; and 


indeed we were as wretched a set of mortals as ever com- 
mitted matrimony, or contemplated suicide. 

No resource was left us. 

No remedy liad we for our innumeraWe ills. 

There was no satisfaction in to-day, and no hope in to- 

All the days staggered gloomily along, and awoke with 
stumhling feet the weary echoes of the dreary solitude. 

The cave of Polyphemus was not more dismal than 
were our own surroundings. Nature seemed to sorrow 
everywhere — in the sky, in the forest, on the river. 

No Future was apparent there. The Present was l)orn 
in agony, and sank with pain and without resignation 
into the arms of the Past. 

Was ever river more dreary than the Mississippi ? It 
is tristful as the chant of Ayesha, or the plaint of the 
Burmese bird. 
. It is the terrestrial Styx, and the Acheron of America. 

Grand it may be ; but it is grand as the Sphynx is, and 
as melancholy. 

No change, no relief on either side. 

The gray cotton-woods greeted one at every turn, 
looking like skeletons by day and spectres at night. 

The sombre moss covered them like a mantle of mourn- 
ing, as if "Beauty were dead, and Nature were going to 
her funeral. Deep, dark, dismal, the formless, shoreless 

How it whirled and boiled, as if it were seething above 
unseen furnaces of unseen fire ! 

The sky appeared to borrow the sombre semblance of 
the river. No gladness, no promise, no consolation there. 


The clouds were murky as the waves. 

The horizon touched the tops of the dreary trees, and 
the dreary trees stood drearily in the dreary waters. 

Misfortune, disease, and death were the portents of 
IS'ature ; and the eye read the fate of Atreus in every 
external thing. 

Often I paced the deck of our sable craft, long after all 
hands had piped to quarters ; when the Night and 
Morn were passing each other in awful silence, and 
looked out upon the darkness, and into the despairing 
face of Nature. 

How impressively still, how utterly desolate was all ! 

No marvel one then believed that Pain is the creative 
secret of the Universe ; that Sorrow is the inheritance of 
the Sphere. 

All ghastly stories, all horrible destinies, all Buddhist 
doctrines seemed true, as one gazed down the sad mur- 
muring river, and watched the sombre clouds as they 
stole ghost-like among the vapory graves of the troubled 
and angry sky. 

Dreariness, desolation, despondence, despair ! 

Individuality and Spirit, how weak when the super- 
stition of Imagination wraps them round ! 

Still the clouds glided ghost-like, and the river surged ; 
and the Night waned mournfully; and Thought made 
Hades for the soul. 

« -5^ * * 

Yery much reason to doubt is there if what we call 
Heaven ever sympathizes with War ; but, one morning, 
as we lay on the Fleet, we had an indication of celestial 
recognition of our strife. 


The Eastern liorizon was clouded as tlie snn rose ; and 
soon the golden l)eams burst out from half a dozen clear 
spaces, streaming downward to the rim of the concave, 
and lying in yellow light along a heavy bank of shadow, 
giving an exact representation of a Fort with embrasures, 
parapet, and bastions, behind which the Grecian gods 
might have been struggling for their ancient realm of 
Chaos and of Mght. 

The scene certainly was striking, and by a superstitious 
mind would have been invested with a meaning, and 
translated according to the promptings of Desire and of 

To Reason, it was naught but vapors and the sun. To 
the Poet, it was the correspondence of the Outward with 
the Interior ; to the Philosopher, the conformation of 
Nature to the thought of Man. 

* * * * 

To change from the sentimental strain, let me relate an 
anecdote of a dog— formerly the Rebel General Tighl- 
man' s— which remained behind after the capture of Fort 
Henry, and then divided his company with different offi- 
cers of the fleet. 

" Ponto " seemed to be a strong Unionist in his feelings, 
and to have deserted the insurgent cause as soon as he 
had an opportunity. 

After his master was taken prisoner, he would not 
recognize him, but would growl whenever he approached, 
and take refuge near the Union soldiers or sailors. 

That he had cut Tighlman' s acquaintance was evident ; 
and his growls were canine rebukes of his traitorous 


"Ponto" had grown a great favorite, and was invited 
to various r^Bj^sts upon the Iboats. He was exceedingly- 
sensitive, and left no doulDt of the political complexion 
of his mind. 

If called Jeff. Davis, "Ponto" would howl most dole- 
fully ; and if styled Abe Lincoln, would bark joyously. 

We had a Rebel banner on board, and whenever that 
was shown him, he endeavored to tear it in pieces, and 
lost his temper for an hour ; but the sight of the Stars 
and Stripes restored his amiability ; induced him to walk 
on his hind legs, and display all possible symptoms of 
pleasure, and uncompromising allegiance to the Republic. 

I do not suppose " Ponto " had more genius than many 
of his canine brothers, but he had been carefully taught 
his line of conduct, and, being an apt pupil, frequently 
amused spectators not a little. 

vr vf 7r w 

We had on the Flotilla at that time a_ Correspondent, 
who at different periods had much amused the Bohemi- 
ans by his unique and old-womanish ideas about every 
thing, but especially about War. He seemed to have 
adopted his nomadic pursuits of his own election ; and 
yet he was one of the most miserable of men. 

He was always hunting battles, and still had never 
seen one ; but, invariably arriving at the scene after 
the engagement had become a thing of the past, mourned 
most bitterly over his untimely absence. The next time 
there was a tight, he vowed he would witness it ; but 
somehow, before the battle took place, he would be 
called off in another direction, and reappeared only to 
curse his ill fortune. 


Nothing pleased, notliiiig satisfied him. He was a per- 
petual complainer and grumbler ; and if^BjP had had a 
growlery, after the manner of John Jarndjce, he would 
have been its continuous occupant. 

He suffered like a domestic Prometheus ; and, though 
rather amiable by nature, swore like a steamboat-mate 
on every expedition, and declared the times, the army, 
the situation, the Administration, every thing, entirely 

His baggage was always lost ; he was ever too late ; 
his head ached, or his boots were too small. 

The World refused in any instance to go right with 
him. The Fates were opposed to him ; the Furies pur- 
sued him as they did Orestes, and not even his maledic- 
tions would appease, nor his misfortunes mollify them. 

Poor devil of a journalist ! he could never learn to be 
a Bohemian, which generally means an ill-fated fellow, of 
aesthetic and luxurious tastes, born out of place, and in 
opposition to his circumstances — who assumes indiffer- 
ence to all tilings, and scoffs because he cannot smile. 

It was not strange the Correspondent mentioned should 
be disgusted with the life he sought to lead, and its thou- 
sand annoyances ; but he certainly ought to have retired 
from his profession, or played the devil-may-care part 
that belonged to his role. 

The Bohemians talked of "buying him off;" — he soon 
after abandoned the tribe, poor fellow, and in sheer des- 
peration became a Benedict — for his perpetual maunder- 
ings had so moved their compassion as to ruffle the self- 
composure necessary to the self-poise of a true disciple 
of Zingara. 




The Carondelet and Pittsburg Defying the Guns of Island No. 10. — Preparations 
for the Hazardous Enterprise. — Scenes on the Flag-ship. — Departure of the 
Pittsburg. — An Anxious Period. — The Artillery of the Rebels and of Heaven 
— ^Thunder, Lightning, and Gunpowder. — Safe Passage of the Union Vessels. 

The first time the Rebel batteries were defied, was in 
April, 1862, at Island JSTo. 10. The experiment was theu; 
regarded as desperate ; and they who made the atteraptf 
were considered members of a forlorn hope. 

The gunboat Carondelet took the lead in the enter-. 
prise, and the Pittsburg followed. I was quartered on 
the fiag-ship Benton at the time, and witnessed the noyel 
and exciting scene with no little interest. 

Early on the morning of April 6, it was believed 
on the Benton, from certain outward signs, that the dan-, 
gerous experiment of running the blockade would be 
tried again on the first dark night ; and before evening 
it was whispered that the Pittsburg was the gunboat 

Commodore Foote sent for Captain Thompson, and 
the two were closeted together for some time, while 
the active movements, and the air of unusual bustle 
on board the Pittsburg, corroborated the opinion already 

At eight o'clock, or four bells, as they say on ship- 


Iboard, tlie sky, which had been clear and bright all day, 
began to cloud ; and as the evening advanced, the in- 
dications of a storm increased. Many were the meteoro- 
logical prognostications ; and it was noticed that the Com- 
modore and Captains Phelps and Thompson anxiously 
watched the sky, as if the nature of the night would 
shape certain important events. 

All the officers and crew gathered on deck after dark, 
and debated about the weather until ten or eleven 

Some thought it would be squally, and others clear ; 
and many under the former impression "turned in," to 
use a nautical phrase, contending that the blockade 
would not be run during the night. 

The correspondent of Tlie Tribune concluded to re- 
main up, for the night was very warm, and the atmo- 
sphere so close below that sleep to him was a matter 
certainly not to be dreamed of. 

I felt an interest in the coming tempest, if there was 
to be one ; and so I paced the deck and smoked, until 
long after midnight. 

Between one and two o' clock it was evident we would 

he favored with a storm, from the augmented darkness, 


'thunder, and lightning. 

About that time. Captain Plielps and Commodore Foote 
appeared on deck, and directed tlieir attention especially 
to the Pittsburg, lying to the right of us against the 
Missouri shore. The Pittsburg looked ready for action, 
and I then knew the blockade was to be run before 

Ten minutes after two, the Pittsburg moved out into 


the stream so quietly tliat no one who had not Ibeen on 
the watch would have noticed her. 

On the side she would expose to the Tennessee shore, 
on her downward passage, was a barge loaded with 
bales of hay, entirely covering her casemates, and de- 
signed, of course, to protect her from the Rebel bat- 

She had not moved a hundred yards before it appeared 
the crew of the Benton had been apprised of what was 
on the tapis. 

Some thirty or forty sleepy-looking fellows came on 
deck, and turned their optics — from which all drowsi- 
ness was soon dispelled by the interest felt in the occa- 
sion — towards the gunboat, leisurely moving down the 

' ' There she goes !" " That' s the Pittsburg !" ' ' Good 
luck to the craft!" were heard, in low tones of voice; 
and all eyes were strained through the darkness, which 
was dispelled every few seconds by the lurid lightning. 

Much fear was entertained for the Pittsburg's suc- 
cess — far more than had been for the Carondelet — because 
it was believed the Rebels had profited by their first ex- 
perience, were more on the alert, and had probably 
depressed their guns, which they had shot over the 
latter, as she passed within musket' s reach of their roar- 
ing mouths. 

Hundreds of hearts beat anxiously as the Pittsburg 
moved placidly down-stream ; no light and no living 
thing visible on board, even when the lightning danced, 
and played, and blazed, over all the sky. 

It was an impressive spectacle, to witness the solitary 


and gallant gunboat gliding down the broad river, amid 
the tempestuous and howling night. 

''What would be the fate of the brave souls on 
board?" occurred to many minds; but no one could 
answer the question. 

The Pittsburg passed the first battery, which had 
been spiked a few nights before, and was consequently 
hushed, and was opposite the second, when a volley 
of musketry and a roar of cannon greeted her. 

The artificial thunder made numerous hearts leap and 
pulses throb ; but the sable craft seemed to regard it 
not, keeping on as before, mysteriously and silently. 

The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth bat- 
teries were passed, and all the shore guns, and those 
from the island opened on her with terrible din. But 
we saw by the glare of the skies that she was neither 
crippled nor sunk. Many thanks were offered, and 
devout wishes shaped themselves into prayers for the 
success of the gallant vessel. 

In twenty minutes after starting, she was hidden from 
view by the bend in the river ; but the firing continued, 
and her signal-guns, anxiously listened for, were not heard. 

Not a few feared she was lost ; but the majority de- 
clared she must be safe, and the sailors offered large bets 
of rum on the successful issue of the enterj^rise. 

About three o'clock we thought Ave heard the Pitts- 
burg' s signal-guns ; but no one conld be sure, for the 
thunder and the enemy's batteries, and the echoes so 
mingled that no one could distinguish any of the sounds 
with accuracy. 

Captain Phelps and a number of the officers remained 


on deck until fonr o' clock, wlien tlie enemy still fired at 
intervals, and the niglit had grown darker, and the 
tempest was falling with greater fury. They could see and 
learn nothing new ; but, hoping for the best, they went 
below, and I with them, in dripping garments, though 
not to sleep, into the oven of a cabin. 

The anxiety continued until after breakfast, when we 
learned the Pittsburg had gotten through safely ; that 
four transports and two barges had reached !N"ew Madrid 
by means of the canal, and would probably be enabled 
to convey General Pope' s forces across the river when- 
ever he desired. 




A Mysterious Vessel astern. — Preparations for Battle on the Benton. — Pro- 
position for the Enemy to Surrender. — Unconditional Terms asked. — The 
Eebel Prisoners and their Opinions. — Curious Scene. — Feminine Accom- 
paniments to a Siege. 

After the running of the Relbel "batteries of Island 
No. 10, and the passage through the canal to New 
Madrid, Mo., of the transports and barges mentioned 
in the last chapter, great interest was felt, especially on 
the afternoon of Monday, April 7, to hear from General 
Pope, and to learn the progress of affairs in and ahout 
the latter place. 

Every one was waiting with anxiety for the next turn 
in events ; and while the officers and men were on the 
deck of the Benton, a little before nine o' clock they dis- 
covered a strange vessel turning the point in the river 
below, and coming up astern of the flagshij). 

No one could imagine what she was or her purpose, 
and all the ship's glasses could not solve the question. 

Probably it was a Rebel gunboat that had run Pope's 
blockade, or perhaps the Floating Battery, of which we 
had heard so much, under tow of a Secession transport. 

That there was an opportunity for a figlit, every one 
believed. The gunners were called ; the fifty -pound 
rifled Dahlgrens at the stern were run out, and every 
preparation made for action. 


All on board the Benton were on the qui vwe^ and 
orders were given to reserve fire until the supposed 
enemy had come within a mile' s distance. 

In less than a quarter of an hour after the hoat had 
been discovered, she was heard to give four sharp, shrill 
whistles ; and then the prospect of an engagement was 
materially decreased. 

It was probably a friendly steamer, or it might be a 
Rebel fraud to deceive the Benton. 

The gunners still held their position, while the flagship 
answered the signal, and along the shore and among the 
woods the echoes responded to the scream of the escaping 

The Commodore' s tug was ordered to drop down, and 
determine, if possible, the mission of the stranger ; and 
Lieutenant Bishop stepped into the Dauntless, and 
steamed away into the shadows of the night. 

In less than half an hour the tug returned, and with 
her two young Rebel Lieutenants under a flag of truce, 
with the information that they wished to confer with 
the Commodore. 

They were at once escorted to the cabin, and proved 
to be Lieutenants George S. Martin and E. S. McDowell, 
empowered to propose the surrender of the Island on 
certain conditions. 

The Commodore replied mildly, but firmly, that it was 
unnecessary to name the conditions, as he could listen to 
no proposition based upon conditions ; that an absolutely 
unconditional surrender was the sole thing possible. 

The young Lieutenants seemed in excellent spirits, and 
augmented them at the request of Lieutenant Bishop, 


after leaving the Commodore' s presence, Iby imlDilbing an 
artificial quantity. They said they were unable to make 
reply to the Commodore's demand without consulting 
their principal, Captain W. Y. C. Humes, the com- 
mander of the Island. 

They departed, therefore, in company with Captain 
Phelps of the Benton, for the De Soto, which had 
"brought them up, and still lay half a mile astern, and 
returned a little after midnight to give us the almost 
unnecessary intelligence that they had accepted the flag 
officer's terms — an unconditional surrender. 

In regard to the shore batteries, they stated they could 
say nothing, as they had no command over that part of 
the fortifications, and were ignorant of the officer in 
charge of the forces there. 

From the fact of the proposition of surrender coming 
through two Lieutenants, it was believed that the greater 
part of the Rebel forces, with the chief officers, had 
already made their exodus — a surmise that subsequent 
circumstances proved entirely correct. 

At daylight a number of white flags were seen flying 
from the Island, and no person could be discovered along 
the Kentucky and Tennessee shore. 

The gunboats St. Louis and Mound City, and one or 
two of tlie transports, went down about seven in the 
morning ; and, soon after, a tug from the Benton steamed 
over to the shore batteries with Captain Phelps of the 
flagship, one or two other officers, and myself. 

On the Island there were about three hundred prison- 
ers, mostly Tennesseeans — the command of Captain 
Humes, who had surrendered to Commodore Foote. 


They were all artillerists, and their officers generally 
quite young men. 

I had several hours' conversation with the captives, and 
from them learned the sentiments they held in regard to 
the War. They were all bitterly opposed to their princi- 
pal commanders ; said they had had different leaders 
every day or two ; and that they had l)een most unex- 
pectedly deserted by the forces on the main land. 

The privates universally expressed themselves weary 
and disgusted with the War ; and gave it as their opinion 
that the Rebellion was well-nigh crushed ; that the South 
could not carry it on but a month or two longer, and that 
it must sink beneath its own weight. 

How much they were mistaken ! 

They said if they were released, they would not serve 
in the ranks again ; that they had been cruelly deceived 
by their leaders, and that the Rebellion had been under- 
taken by a few demagogues and unprincipled parties for 
the purpose of self-aggrandizement. 

They appeared extremely well satisfied with their new 
position, and were the most cheerful prisoners I remem- 
ber to have seen. 

The privates were healthful and good-looking men, for 
the most part, and possessed of more than the average 
degree of intelligence found among the common people 
of the South. They were comfortably though poorly 
clad, and said they had an abundance of food, but had not 
received a dollar in payment for their services during the 
time — a period of some six months — that had expired 
since their enlistment. 

The officers generally held — at least expressed — very 


different opinions ; and, though cautious, manifested an 
earnest attachment to the cause of the Rebellion, and 
declared they were determined to adhere to it while there 
was the least hope of success. 

They acknowledged they did not believe the stories, so 
extensively circulated Ib}^ the Southern newspapers — that 
the North designed to abolitionize the Slave States (the 
!N'orth had no such intentions then), or plunder their 
homes ; or ravish their wives and sisters ; or that the 
Yankees were a horde of barbarians and blood-thirsty 
ruffians ; or any of the absurd twaddle the editors pub- 
lished, but knew to be utterly false. 

All such statements, the officers confessed, were de- 
signed to influence the common people, and render them 
devoted to the cause they had espoused. 

The officers furthermore remarked that the South had 
long been jealous of the steadily augmenting power of 
the North, and believed that the latter was encroaching 
upon the Slave States, and was likely to extinguish the 
peculiar institution by restricting it to certain limits, 
which must insure its ultimate destruction. 

The election of a sectional candidate to the Presidency 
had rendered the South universally restless ; for they 
regarded it as the inception of an open contest against 
Slavery, and that they could not remain in the Union 
without danger to their servile property. 

They had grown up with and among slaves, and wMle 
they did not ask the North to admire Slavery, they 
claimed for themselves certain rights under the Constitu- 
tion, which they thought they could not retain if they 
waited until the expiration of Lincoln' s term of office. 


They were attached to Slavery on account of the "ben- 
efits they believed it conferred, both on the black and 
white race ; and they were convinced the great agricultu- 
ral interests of their section could not be served without 
compulsory labor. 

They held the opinion that there was an irrepressible 
conflict between the Free and Slave States, as had been 
first announced by William H. Seward, and that the dis- 
position of the North to interfere with the local institu- 
tions of the South, would necessarily result in war ; and 
that for this reason they desired a separation. 

They greatly desired peace ; but the present struggle 
had destroyed all hope of it, and had rendered the resto- 
ration of the Union an absolute impossibility. 

Of course, such arguments, if they deserved the name, 
are old and threadbare, and have been refuted again and 
again ; and I only give them as specimens of the senti- 
ments and conversation of the Rebel ofiicers at that time. 
* * -je * 

At one of the encampments on the Tennessee River, 
about twenty well-dressed and quite comely women were 
discovered as sole occupants of the place. 

They said they were friends of the officers, who had left 
their baggage in their charge until they met again. 

The women were from Memphis, and it required no 
very penetrating optics to determine their position and 
calling. They belonged, of course, to the Lorette school, 
and had endeavored, doubtless, to assuage the severity 
of the campaign by the tenderness of their devotion and 
the warmth of their attachment. 

Some of them were quite pretty and very young, and 


appeared" to regard the surrender of tlie Island and tlie 
flight of their lovers as a pleasant jest ; and seemed to 
enjoy it vastly. 

Quite cosmopolitan in character, they were unquestion- 
alDly as "willing to extend their gentle favors to the Na- 
tional officers as to their late Rebel protectors ; knowing 
that Love makes friends of enemies, and by the alkahest 
of its subtile chemistry melts all distinctions in a common 

* * * * 

A day or two after the surrender of the Island proper, 
General Pope followed and captured about twenty-six 
hundred of the retreating Rebels that had been doing 
duty at the shore batteries, which furnished the main 
strength of the position. 

Pope had crossed the river, and, by a skillful dispo- 
sition of the two gunboats and his forces, so completely 
cut off the insurgents, with the assistance of the high 
waters on the shore opposite New Madrid, that they sur- 
rendered at discretion, without the loss of a single life on 
our side by the casualties of battle. 

SHILOH. 135 



Desperate Determination of the South. — Confidence of the Enemy. — Cause of 
the Early Action. — The First Day's Fighting. — Fearful Struggle. — Intensity 
of the Excitement. — Reclvlessness of Life. — Panic-stricken Regiments. — 
Arrival of General Buell. — The Second Day's Fighting. — Defeat of tlie Foe. 

The Union forces, on tlie clear, pleasant, balmy Satur- 
day niglit of April 5, 1862, wlien they souglit tlieir 
tents to rest, had little thought the quiet of the beautiful 
Sabbath would be marred by the roar of cannon, the 
rattle of musketry, the hoarse battle-cry, the clash of 
resounding arms. 

They were taken at disadvantage ; but they soon 
rallied, and waged the fierce battle as if they had been 
looking for its coming at the very hour. 

It was notorious among the enemy, that General Buell 
was marching rapidly to join his force with that of 
General Grant. He had been anxiously expected for 
several days ; and to drive back and inflict a heavy and 
fatal blow upon Grant, before his allies could come to his 
assistance, was the best of policy, if not a military 

The Rebels numbered over one hundred and twenty 
thousand of their choicest troops. Kentucky, Tennessee, 
Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas 
had sent their best soldiers to fight the decisive battle ; 
and one hundred and sixty-two regiments had gone forth 


from the South to annihilate the "barlbarous Yankees," 
and establish for Secession a prestige and glory that 
future time should not destroy or dim. 

No one who had not traveled, during 1862, in the 
Slave States, could have any idea of how the South 
moved Heaven and Earth to render a great victory on 
the Tennessee absolutely certain. The South contributed 
her strongest weapons and her best men to the purpose. 

Every disloyal community had been drafted. No per- 
son capable of bearing arms was permitted to remain at 

Old and young alike shouldered their musket, or rifle, 
or shot-gun, and departed for the scene of action. 

The most inflammatory appeals were made. When 
appeals failed, threats were used ; and when threats 
were insufficient, violence was employed. 

Every Southern woman exercised her influence in the 
cause of the Rebellion ; bade her husband, brother, 
father, lover, friend, make another struggle for his fire- 
side and country, and victory would reward his efforts. 

The power of the North would be broken ; the foreign 
hirelings of the tyrant Lincoln would be expelled for- 
ever from the "sacred soil," and future generations 
would rise and call him blessed who flew to his coun- 
try' s succor in the hour of her extremest need. 

The best of Southern Generals were summoned from 
every quarter to conduct the great battles, to lend their 
counsels, and employ their strong arms in the service of 
Secessia, and make a last and desperate effort for the 
independence of the "Confederacy." 

Manassas was evacuated that the best soldiers on the 

SHILOH. 137 

Potomac might contribute to the army on the Ten- 

Pensacola was abandoned that the experienced artil- 
lerists of the South might depart for Corinth. 

Island JSTo. 10 was AYeakened that the regiments there 
assembled might give their combined strength to the 
forlorn hope. 

A mighty army had taken its stand on the shores 
of a river which was to be made immortal by the over- 
throw of the North and the triumj^hant success of the 

Beauregard, and Johnston, and Polk, and Bragg, and 
Jackson, and Breckinridge, had united in their counsels, 
and taken great oaths to do or die in the cause of Slavery, 
and for the extinction of Freedom in the model Re- 

When the battle was forced upon us, on Sunday, 
April 6, 1862, the enemy very far outnumbered us, and 
was confident of success. He had been assured he 
could not be defeated. He had confidence in his leaders, 
and he had sworn, as Hannibal had sworn in his early 
youth, to conquer or to die — a rhetorical phrase very 
popular in the South, and most frequently employed 
when death seems at the greatest distance. 

The engagement was brought on by a body of the 
Union infantry who were ordered to capture a troop of 
some three hundred Rebel cavalry, who had for several 
days greatly harassed our army. 

The cavalry was supposed to be at a certain point be- 
yond our lines, and the infantry marched on expecting 
to surprise them, but were surprised, as was General 


Grant' s entire command, wlio liad no idea of a general 

Beauregard liad had for two weeks, it is said, a num- 
ber of spies in our camp, and was as fully informed of 
our plans, opinions, and expectations as if he had been 
the confidential friend and adviser of the Commander-in- 
Chief. He had employed the cavalry as a decoy, and 
was aware our army was entirely unprepared for an 

In that condition, at that most critical and unfortunate 
hour, the great body of the Confederate army had ad- 
vanced within range, and suddenly opened a terrible fire 
of musketry upon General Prentiss's Division, throwing 
the left wing into great confusion ; at the same time pour- 
ing into our encampment a perfect storm of canister, 
grape, and shell, causing terrible destruction. 

For some minutes much disorder prevailed, and the 
oflEicers feared at first that a panic would seize the sol- 
diers ; but the coolness and bravery of the principal 
commanders prevented such a disaster. 

A line of battle was speedily formed, amid the shower 
of shot and the deafening roar of Rebel artillery, and a 
stotit resistance made. 

At that juncture, the fire of the Rebels for a few mo- 
ments diminished, but was soon reopened as fiercely as 
ever upon the left and center of General Sherman' s divi- 
sion, which was driven back with great loss, exposing 
our extreme left, under General McClernand, to its de- 
structive sweep. 

After ten minutes, our whole army was formed in line, 
and our brave soldiers, extending three miles, began to 

SHILOH. 139 

return the fire of the foe with steady and continnons vol- 
leys of musketry, sending many a Rebel, who had ex- 
pected another Manassas, to his eternal rest. 

During a period of four hours the deadly strife con- 
tinued ; the enemy displaying a degree of obstinate cour- 
age he had never before shown ; and fighting with a 
desperate determination that compelled our forces to re- 
cede gradually before him. 

The generalship on the part of the " Confederates" was 
consummate — far exceeding ours, and deserving, from a 
military point of view, of the highest admiration. 

When we attacked a certain point, we met with resist- 
ance from a new quarter ; when we went to the right, we 
were attacked from the left ; when we advanced to the 
center, a deadly fire was opened on us from the right ; 
and so we were perpetually deceived by the skill and 
strategy of our foes. 

Constant efforts were made to flank our regiments, and 
in many instances the Rebels narrowly escaped success ; 
so much so was this the case, that we were again and 
again put upon the defensive, when the offensive was the 
need of the hour. 

By that time the enemy had occupied a large portion 
of the ground on which we had been encamped when 
the action began ; and we were still falling back before 
the "Confederates," who seemed to be fighting with 
more and more determination, and who were doubtless 
cheered and encouraged by their early success. 

The Union center evinced unmistakable symptoms of 
giving way, for it was sorely pressed, and the fortunes 
of the day appeared to be against us, when General Hurl- 



"but' s division was ordered to its support. The division 
moved in good time, and did good service. 

Hotter and hotter grew the contest ; fiercer and fiercer 
the struggle. 

Each man fought as if success or defeat depended on 
his own right arm ; and charge after charge was made on 
the Rebels to regain the ground we had lost. 

They stood firm as a rock ; and though our artillery 
often swept down their ranks, and left fearful gaps in 
their columns, they manifested no trepidation, nor did 
they waver for a moment. 

The living supplied the place of the dead. The musket 
that had fallen from a lifeless hand was seized at once, and 
the horrid strife swept on as before. The force of the 
enemy appeared increasing, and where the greatest 
havoc was made, there the strongest opposition was 

Hand-to-hand contests were innumerable. Every strug- 
gle was for life. 

Quarter was asked on neither side, and the ground 
drank up the blood of hundreds of brave fellows every 

Men lost their semblance of humanity, and the spirit 
of the demon shone in then* faces. 

There was but one desire, and that was to destroy. 

There was little shouting. The warriors were too muc 
in earnest. They set their teeth firm, and strained their 
every nerve to its utmost tension. 

Death lost all its terrors, and men seemed to feast upon 
the sight of blood. 

The light of the sun was obscured by the clouds of sul- 


SHILOH. 141 

phurous smoke, and the gronnd became moist and slip- 
pery witli human gore. 

The atmosphere trembled with the shock of the armies, 
and the earth shook with the tramp of the thousands and 
tens of thousands of warring foes. 

The balance of victory ever varied. It now inclined to 
this side, and now to that. Here the Unionists gained an 
advantage; there the "Confederates." 

Advance was followed by retreat ; success by repulse. 

At this point we drove the enemy back, but were 
driven back in return. Success was always shifting, but 
never settled. 

Hope and fear, joy and sorrow, seized the soul by turns, 
and every hour held a month of emotions. 

All consciousness of time ceased ; all thought of the 
Future, all recollection of the Past. Every thing was ab- 
sorbed in the sanguinary Present, and external IS'ature 
assumed the hue of blood. 

Men glared at each other as at wild beasts ; and, when 
a shell burst with fatal effect among a crowd of the ad- 
vancing foe, and arms, legs, and heads were torn off, a 
grim smile of pleasure lighted up the smoke-begrimed 
faces of the transformed beings who witnessed the catas- 

Soldiers were wounded and knew it not, so intense was 
their excitement, and often a mortal hurt was announced 
to the victim only by the cessation of vitality. 

Men with knitted brows and flushed cheeks fought 
madly over ridges, along ravines, and up steep ascents, 
with blood and perspiration streaming down their faces. 

Men with shattered fingers changed their muskets to 


their left liands, and still fired tlieir pieces as best they 

Everywhere was mad excitement ; every-where was 
horror. Commanders galloped wildly to the front of their 
regiments, and cheered them on, using their sabers on 
each and every foe, and urging their spirited steeds where 
ever the troops were falling back, careless of their own 
life, as if they had a million souls to spare. 

Caj)tains, majors, colonels, and generals fought like 
private soldiers, and it was not uncommon to see a field- 
officer firing a musket or charging with his revolver 
upon the advancing foe. 

There was no pause in the battle. The roar of the 
strife was ever heard. The artillery bellowed and thun- 
dered, and the dreadful echoes went sweeping down 
the river, and the paths were filled with the dying and 
the dead. 

The sound was deafening, the tumult indescribable. 

No life was worth a farthing ; for he who lifted his 
musket this moment fell the next, a stiffened corpse. 

Yonder a fresh regiment rushed bravely forward, and 
ere they had gone twenty yards, a charge of grape sent 
the foremost men bleeding to the earth. 

Whole heaps of corpses lay upon the murmuring 
ground, and fixed eyes stared at the surrounding strife, 
with the awful stare of death. 

Wild mockery ! dreadful vision ! But who cared ? 

Death was not to be thought of, but to be met with 
indifference, come when it might. 

Death was in the air, and bloomed like a poison-plant 
on every foot of soil. 

SHILOH. 143 

During Sunday afternoon, eleven or twelve of the 
Union regiments, after fighting bravely for two hours, 
were thrown into disorder by a number of shells which 
burst above and around them ; and at the same moment 
a Eebel battery opened upon them, at a distance of half 
a mile, with terrible devastation. 

They could not endure the murderous fire. They 
turned and fled, and several of their officers endeavored 
in vain to rally them. They were utterly panic-stricken 
at first, and they would have run if the Infernal Pit had 
opened before their hurrying feet. 

No appeal, no censure, affected them. Many threw 
away their arms, and sped as a country school-boy, 
who thinks he has seen a ghost in the village church- 

A number of flying soldiers, having recovered from 
their alarm and regained their pride, returned to their 
posts, fighting more bravely than before, to wipe out 
the stain ; but the greater part ran beyond the reach 
of the human voice, even crossing the river and going 
to Savannah. 

As the sun was sinking towards the west. General 
Buell's column, so anxiously expected, so needful in 
the great emergency, appeared on the opposite side of 
the river, and the enemy redoubled his efforts to insure 
our defeat ; knowing that on the morrow our numbers 
would nearly equal his own ; and that he must put 
the last remnant of strength into the contest. 

The Rebels did so. They summoned a large portion 
of their reserve, and fell with unexampled fury upon 
our ranks, shouting like madmen, and striving in every 


possible way to extend the panic with whicli the nn- 
fortunate twelve regiments had been seized. 

Every one of their cannons seemed at play ; every 
musket performing its natural office. The resources of 
their generals were exhausted. They told their troops 
the condition of affairs ; that that was the golden op- 
portunity ; that all depended upon winning a victory 
"before the darkness should compel a suspension of hos- 

The Rebels swept like an avalanche upon the loyal 
troops, and the shock had its effect. 

Our soldiers wavered, for they were nearly exhausted 
with the long, hard fight, and the enemy's fresh forces 
gave them the advantage. 

Here was a crisis, and General Grant rode along the 
whole line, amid a storm of balls, and encouraged the 
men, and assured them that if they held out until the 
next morning, Buell, with his thousands, would have 
crossed the river. 

His brief remarks added courage to many a faint heart, 
and strength to many a tired arm ; and our ranks fought 
with a desperate and invincible spirit. 

Still they could hardly cope with the overpowering 
force of the Rebels, until Colonel Webster, chief of 
General Grant's staff, planted several batteries, and 
brought them to bear directly upon the enemy' s right ; 
and about the same time, the giinboats Lexington and 
Taylor, so near were the contending armies to the bank, 
opened a heavy fire upon the advancing Rebels. 

The foe endeavored heroically to endure that terrible 
double fire ; but his columns had not the fortitude to 

SHILOH. 145 

stand and be mowed down by hnndreds. Tliey began 
to waver and to break. 

Beauregard and Johnston attempted to hold their troops 
in position, and they exposed themselves most recklessly 
to prevent them from falling back, bnt to no purpose. 
Every discharge of the batteries, every roar of death from 
the gunboats, sent the Rebel regiments reeling to the 
grave ; and in less than half an hour they moved back- 
ward, leaving us in possession of all the ground we had 
occupied in the morning. 

In this part of the action. General Albert Sydney John- 
ston fell, and Beauregard was very slightly wounded in. 
the left arm. 

* * * * 

During the night. General IS'elson' s division of Buell's 
army reached the battle-field, and early in the morning 
the engagement was renewed. Nelson occupying the left, 
and General Wallace the right. 

Nelson and Wallace opened upon the enemy with a 
heavy fire, and caused him to fall back. For several 
hours the victory seemed to be ours ; but about half-past 
ten o'clock the Rebels, who must have been re-enforced, 
made a series of gallant charges, and caused our troops to 
retire for a quarter of a mile, pouring most fearful volleys 
of musketry into our ranks. 

Again the prospect looked dark, and thousands of 
hearts felt alarmed, not for themselves, but for the for- 
tunes of the great battle on which so much depended — 
perhaps the salvation of the Republic, and the happiness 
of unborn generations. 

General BueH had crossed the river below the point 


wliere !N'elson had, and at this juncture came up •with 
fresh troops, and flanked the enemy, and captured a 
number of pieces of artillery. 

The Rebels here made a terrible charge to recover their 
loss, but they were unsuccessful. 

They wavered and were driven back — rallied, and 
made a final attempt, but were repulsed ; Buell' s forces 
meeting and engaging them in a splendid manner. 

Our army saw their advantage, and followed it up in 
magnificent style ; and from that hour the Rebels seemed 
to have lost faith in themselves. 

They could not be rallied, though their commanders 
hallooed themselves hoarse. They could not keep their 
ground, and they slowly retired, with thek faces still to 
the Unionists, and fighting, though somewhat languidly. 

Their hope and energy appeared to diminish steadily, 
and they soon gave evidence of demoralization, and, 
before six o'clock in the evening, retreated with celerity, 
pursued towards Corinth by six thousand of our cavalry. 




Eavages of the Musquitos. — Their Secession Proclivities. — Battles between the 
Insects and Correspondents. — Anecdote of General Pope. — Discovery of an 
unexpected OfBcial. 

The countless musquitos in the vicinity of Fort Pil- 
low, during tlie month of April, 1862, must liave liad 
strong Secession sympathies ; they certainly were bitter 
enemies of the Nationalists, and phlebotomized them 
without mercy. They never were so numerous and 
venomous before at that season of the year, in that lati- 
tude, and they bled our soldiers and sailors as perse- 
veringly as did ever Dr. Sangrado his system-murdered 

Those annoying insects were always vigilant, and had 
the honor of extracting the earliest sanguinary fluid 
during the bombardment. 

They had no fear of gunboats or mortars, artillery or 
bayonets. They recognized no distinction in rank, at- 
tacking Commodores and Captains, Bohemians and Briga- 
diers alike. 

One hundred did I slay, even while writing half a 
dozen lines ; and yet there were thousands to supply 
their places. They seemed as anxious to die as the Reb- 
els pretend to be. 

The difference between them was, they did die, and 


the Rebels did not — when they could help it. Mortifying 
reflection to vain-glorious Man ! Musquitos are braver 
than the three hundred devoted Lacedaemonians who 
fought and fell beneath the shade of Xerxes' arrows. 

Sleep was often an impossibility, on the Fleet or in 
camp ; and a number of the Bohemians rose one morning 
with their optics so nearly closed, from the attack of the 
musquitos, that the poor fellows would have been en- 
tirely excusable if they had taken what, in bar-room 
parlance, is classically called, an eye-opener. 

Confound the musquitos ! I used to exclaim every min- 
ute. They were the pests of the South, and of summer, 
and, like the Thane of Cawdor, did murder sleep ! 

Every thing was very dull about Pillow the first two 
or three weeks, with the exception of the constant battles 
between the Bohemians and the musquitos ; the latter 
having declared unrelenting and ceaseless war against the 
knights of the pen. 

• The strife went on without intermission, day and night ; 
the musquitos relieving each other punctually, and 
mounting guard every five seconds. 

We had no bars on the fleet (and none in the Missis- 
sippi, for the matter of that), and we were therefore 
victims to the remorseless cruelty of the venomous insects 
at all times and in all places. 

The Correspondents, as I have said, often arose in 
the morning with their visuals so swelled, from the bites 
of the winged pests, that they looked as if they had been 
taking a few first lessons in the "noble and manly art 
of self-defense," from the Tipton Slasher or the Benicia 


I pitied the poor fellows, Ibut the fact that my own 
sufferings were even greater than theirs, prevented that 
complete exercise of commiseration which an intact 
epidermis would have insured. 

The musquitos in that vicinity must have Ibeen of the 
true Secession order, being opposed — as the Richmond 
papers used to he — to reading and writing ; "believing 
it conducive to error and disohedience. 

We never took up a book or commenced any manu- 
script but the musquitos attacked us in force, and showed 
the most desperate determination to drive us from our 
labor or our lore. 

The reason of this was, I conjecture, that the musqui- 
tos hated writing because they themselves could not 
write, and they therefore made their mark — most etiect- 
ually, too, as my crimson- spotted hands and face fully 
and convincingly and painfully attested. 

* * * 4f 

I heard, while at Pillow, an anecdote of General Pope 
— an officer of ability, but sometimes a very unpleasant 
man, with a pompous and hectoring manner — which will 
bear repetition. While at his head-quarters, the G-eneral 
was approached by a rather small, plain-looking, and en- 
tirely unassuming man, in citizen' s attire, with the ques- 
tion : " Are you G-eneral Pope, sir ?" 

"That is my name," was the answer, in rather a 
repelling tone. 

" I would like to see you, then, on a matter of business." 

"Call on my Adjutant, sir. He will arrange any 
business you may have." 


"But I wish to have a personal conversation with 

" See my Adjutant," in an authoritative voice. 


" Did I not tell you to see my Adjutant ? Trouble me 
no more, sir ;" and Pope was about walking away. 

" My name is Scott, General,", quietly remarked the 
small, plain man. 

"Confound you ! What do I care," thundered Pope, 
in a rising passion, ' ' if your name is Scott, or Jones, or 
Jenkins, or Snooks, for the matter of that? See my 
Adjutant, I tell you, fellow ! Leave my presence !" 

"I am," continued the quiet man, in his quiet way, 
" the Assistant Secretary of War, and — " 

What a revolution those simple words made in the 
General' s appearance and manner ! 

His angry, haughty, domineering air was dispelled in 
a moment, and a flush of confusion passed over his 
altered face. 

" I beg your pardon, Mr. Scott, I had no idea whom I 
was addressing. Pray be seated ; I shall be happy to 
grant you an interview at any time." 

Possibly a very close observer might have seen a faint, 
half-contemptuous smile on the Secretary' s lips ; though 
he said nothing, but began to unfold his business with- 
out comment. 

After that unique interview. Pope and the Assistant 
Secretary were very frequently together, and I venture 
to say the latter had no reason subsequently to complain 
of the General' s rudeness. 




A Profane Captain. — Piety of Commodore Foots. — Interruption of Eeligious 
Service. — Easter Sunday on the Flag-sbip. — Horrible Persecutions of Unionists 
in Tennessee and Arkansas. — A Loyal Man Crucified. — Cold-Blooded Mur- 
ders in the South. 

Diviis'E Service was held upon the Flotilla, off Fort 
Pillow, every Sabbath, and even some of the transports 
observed the day, though after a rather secular fashion. 

An old steamboat Captain, for many years engaged in 
the Cincinnati and Southern trade, was in the habit of 
going about the vessel every morning, and saying to his 

men : "D your sinful souls, I want you to come to 

prayers to-day, by ;' ' and, after services, adding to 

delinquents: "Why the - — - and weren't you on 

hand to-day to hear the Bible read? You'll go to 

surely, and, you, you ought to, too, by ." 

It is deeply to be regretted that that man' s external 
piety did not improve his mode of exhortation ; but 
this was one of the countless instances in which a time- 
honored custom was observed after the spirit that might 
have made it sacred had departed. 

Quite different from the profane steamboat Captain was 
Commodore Foote, who seemed to regard the observa- 
tion of Sunday, when it was at all possible, as quite es- 
sential to the discipline of his officers and men. 


He read the Scriptures regularly and panctually on 
the first day of every week, and summoned the entire 
crew of the Benton to his religious lectures. 

Most of the sailors were addicted to falling asleep, and 
frequently snored so loud as to disturb the solemnity of 
the occasion. The Commodore took no notice of their 
drowsiness, believing, perhaps, with some of the theo- 
logical metaphysicians, that when rapt in slumber they 
could commit no sin. 

It certainly is a virtue of many religious exercises, that, 
if they do not convince, they cause sleep, and thus give 
rest to the body, though they furnish no consolation to 
the soul. Goldsmith' s familiar line might, I am sorry to 
say, often be so travestied as to read with truth : 

And those who went to pray remained to sleep. 

The Commodore was not so painfully pious as to allow 
Sunday to interfere with the obligations of his secular 

While reading, at Island No. 10, this extract from the 
Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians : 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in 
heavenly places in Christ. According as He hath chosen 
us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we 
should be holy, and without blame before Him in love ; 
having predestinated us unto the adoption of children 
by Jesus Christ." 

At this moment the officer of the deck reported a sus- 
picious craft coming round the head of the Island, where- 
upon the Commodore ordered the stern guns to be run 


out, and closed the Sacred Yolume and the service at 
once, remarking that the reading would 'be continued on 
a more auspicious occasion, 

* * * * 

Each Sunday the Commodore read from the sixty- 
fourth Psalm, in a deeply impressive manner : 

"They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they 
commune of laying snares privily ; they say. Who shall 
see them ? 

"They search out iniquities; they accomplish a dili- 
gent search : Itoth the inward thought of every one of 
them, and the heart, is deep. 

"But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; sud- 
denly shall they he wounded." 

Doubtless the Commodore referred to the Rebels ; but, 
as if not satisfied with that apt quotation, he read these 
even more appropriate lines : 

"They are all gone out of the way, they are together 
become unprofitable ; there is none that doeth good, no, 
not one. 

"Their throat is an open sepulchre ; with their tongues 
they have used deceit ; the poison of asps is under their 
lips : whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness : 

" Their feet are swift to shed blood : 

" Destruction and misery are in their ways : And the 
way of peace have they not known : there is no fear of 
Grod before their eyes." 

So pertinent were these quotations that the sailors did 
not sleep, or even nod, during the reading, which was 
impressive and eloquent, from the earnest voice, the 
serene face, and the sincere manner of the gallant Com- 


modore, wlio was, in tlie best sense, a gentleman and a 
true Christian. 

* ^ •jf * 

Several of ns went up tlie river, toward the latter part 
of April, in a skiff, a short distance, to the half-submerged 
house of a Union family named Armstrong, residing on 
the Tennessee shore. They were from Ohio, but had 
lived in Lauderdale County for four or five years, and 
were far more intelligent and civilized than the class that 
usually vegetates along the banks of the Mississippi from 
Cairo to Vicksburg. 

We had a long conversation with the family, who had 
had an excellent opportunity to witness the progress of 
the Rebellion in Tennessee, and they gave a fearful ac- 
count of the outrages that had been practiced in the 
name of the Rebel Government. 

Immediately after the State was declared, in spite of 
the expressed opposition of the people, out of the Union, 
armed bands of marauders and outlaws, generally from 
Shelby County, began to abuse and rob the citizens of 
Western Tennessee. 

They impressed all the men they could find into the 
Rebel service, upon pain of death ; and the family assured 
me a number of loyal citizens were hanged for no other 
reason than for their attachment to the Union. 

Mrs. Armstrong says she knew six men who were exe- 
cuted ; and that in one instance a poor fellow who had 
been coerced into the Secession army, and had twice 
deserted, was captured, carried off in the night, and 
actually crucified ; spikes being driven through his hands 
and feet ; thus fastening him to a tree, and leaving Mm to 
a lingering and horrible death. 


The unfortunate victim was gagged, that his cries might 
not call any one to his assistance or relief ; and nearly a 
week had elapsed before he was discovered. He was 
still alive, Ibnt hunger, exposure, and pain had so ex- 
hausted Ihiim, that, though remov-ed to the house of a 
neighbor, and carefully nursed, he died the second day 
after his release. 

In addition to that, men suspected of disaffection were 
assassinated by outlaws so disguised as to be irrecogni- 
zable ; and it was quite common for Unionists to be called 
up at the dead hour of night, and shot when they went 
to the window or door to determine the nature of the 

In Arkansas, too, in Mississippi, Crittenden, and other 
river counties, robbery, tarring and feathering, assassina- 
tions, and hanging were among the favorite amusements 
of the inhabitants of that highly enlightened State. 


The extent of the outrages perpetrated in Secessia 
against Union men will never be known, and hundreds 
of persons have mysteriously disappeared whose fate 
will never be explained, but who were doubtlessly re- 
moved through violent means by the advocates of the 






Melancholy Suicide of a Slave. — Triumph of the American Eagle.— Reminiscence 
of John A. Murrell — His Decease a Loss to the Secession Cause. 

While lying off Fort Pillow, a Union man, wlio had 
"been driyen from Mempliis some months before, told me 
of a sad tragedy that had occurred in the city while he 
was there. A finely formed and rather intelligent mulatto 
had been taken to Memphis from Hardaman County, 
having been torn, against his most urgent entreaties and 
earnest prayers, from his family, to be sold to some 
Louisiana or Texas planter. The poor fellow, who 
seemed so overcome with grief as to be unconscious of 
externals, was placed upon the block, and knocked down 
to a cotton planter residing near Galveston. 

After the sale had been made, and the papers signed, 
the mulatto seemed, for the first time, to fully realize Ms 
situation. Having been ordered to follow his new master, 
he walked quietly along until he was separated from the 
crowd, when he suddenly drew a pistol, concealed about 
his person, and blew out his brains. 

The slave could not endure the idea of separation from 
his family, and preferred death to eternal divorce. No 
one was shocked ; no one pitied him, or cared for the 
cause of the suicide. He was only a " nigger ;" but to the 
new owner he had represented so much money, and 


tlierefore tlie planter was very mad, and swore exces- 
sively over the mutilated corpse of the slave. 

* * * * 

An incident occurred on the transport John H. Dickey, 
while I was on the Fleet, which would indicate that the 
American Eagle — at least one of the family — understands 
the importance of the position assigned him in this coun- 
try as the symbol of Liberty and Independence. 

The clerk of the boat had been presented with an eagle, 
and kept him in the engine-room below, tied to a 
stanchion with a strong cord. 

Soon after the bird was placed there, a coop full of 
chickens, among them three game-cocks, was captured on 
a deserted farm on the Arkansas shore, and removed to 
the locality, and the roosters given the freedom of the deck. 

The Secession cocks immediately began to strut about 
in much the same style as the vulgar G-ascons assuming to 
represent the chivalry of the South, and crowed loudly 
and frequently, greatly to the disgust of the eagle, which 
eyed them very closely, and was evidently attempting to 
exercise his patience to the fullest possible extent. 

The cocks crowed louder and louder, and walked by 
the bird as if they regarded him as an inferior. 

The eagle began to lose his temper, and, eying the 
feathery blusterers more and more keenly, commenced to 
peck at his hempen fetters in an excited manner. 

The roosters still crowed and strutted, and strutted and 
croAved ; and while they were at the hight of their pom- 
posity, the eagle, which had released himself, flew at 
them, and in less than a minute three headless roosters 
lay bleeding amid a quantity of feathers. 


The eagle had resented the indignity to himself, and the 
insult offered him as a representative of the Nation, and 
had taught the insolent Rebel cocks the lesson the grand 
army of the ISTcrth is daily teaching to Secessia. 

The turn of the Grallic cock may come next. Let him 
beware ! 

-X- * * * 

During my sojourn near Fort Pillow, I went several 
tunes over to Arkansas, in the vicinity of Osceola, noted 
as the place where the first Rebel flag was raised in the 

When we remember that Mississippi County, of which 
Osceola is the capital, was part of the theater of John A. 
Murreir s operations, we cannot but acknowledge a singu- 
lar aptness in the elevation there of the symbol of treason. 

No doubt the people of the State missed him greatly, 
and believed he died before his time. He should have 
lived to the days of the Jeff. Davis conspiracy, to receive 
the honors of Secessia for his past deeds, and encourage- 
ment for the continuation of Ms career. He was fitted by. 
nature, education, habits, and association for a Seces- 
sionist, and had he not been one of the prominent Rebel 
generals, he would have been at least a member of the 
Cabinet at Richmond. 

He could steal, burn, and murder as well as the best of 
them ; and in such threefold capacity lie the power and 
prestige of the cause he would have been proud to advo- 
cate, and on which even he might have shed at least a ray 
of damning glory. 




A Beautiful Day. — Prodigality of Nature. — Assault of Gnats and Sand-Flies. — 
Eidiculous Adventures. — An Altered Physiognomy. — Saturnine Reflections. — 
A New Jeremiad. 

The 1st of May was briglit, balmy, and beautiful, but 
so very dull on the Flotilla, tliat another Correspondent 
and myself concluded to make a short excursion into the 
region of Arkansas lying opposite Fort Pillow, by way 
of celebrating the occasion. 

The very idea of going Maying, as the school-girls 
style it, in the Patagonia of America, was ludicrously 
absurd ; and for that reason we selected it as the field of 
our vernal recreation. 

The day, as I have said, was beautiful, and the violets 
•of the heavens bloomed in their softest blueness, while 
the gentle zephyrs crossed the Mississippi on wings of 
balm. The birds sang more sweetly than was their wont 
to the morning sunbeams ; and the sunbeams bathed their 
leafy homes in glory. 

Delicious dreams were in the fragrant atmosphere, and 
a spiritual voluptuousness sighed through the love- 
whispering trees. 

All that was very generous in Nature ; but so much 
aesthetic wealth was entirely lost on Arkansas, where 
Art is regarded as an Abolition innovation, and the Ideal 
supposed to mean an unfair game of draw-poker. 


What a sad waste, tliouglit we, of Beauty, wlien we 
saw the blue arch Ibending in charmfulness oyer the 
swamps of the benighted State, and heard the choristers 
of the groves chanting to the scattered woods and the 
unsightly shore ! 

We crossed the river in a skiflf, exhausting ourselves 
and blistering our unhardened hands, and were soon a 
short distance below Osceola, looking round for a spot of 
drj^ land whereon to recline, and wondering what Nature 
designed when she created Arkansas, which I have 
always regarded as a mistake. 

AVe found, after a long and diligent search, and no 
little wading, a spot of green large enough for two 
graves, and looking as if they were such. 

A few sickly violets grew among the tufts of grass, and 
the poor little flowers looked up to us timidly and 
shrinkingly, as if they were trjdng to apologize, but 
could find no excuse, for blooming in such a place. 

Tiny blue-eyed tremblers ! We plucked them from 
their stems, and knew it would be happiness for them tp 
die somewhere else. They exhaled their gratitude in 
sweetness, and we said: "As flowers were found on 
Nero's tomb, so are there violets even in Arkansas." 

Not a minute had we reclined our fatigued forms before 
the sand-flies and gnats assailed us in force ; and before 
we could effect our escape, we looked as if we had just 
recovered from an attack of the small-pox. 

One of my optics was closed, and my companion's lips 
had assumed the proportions of a full-blooded African's. 

The winged pests covered us in swarms, and for five 
minutes our motions resembled the wild movements of 


dancing Dervises. Indeed, I douM if tlie Dervises 
ever danced as we did. 

Witli our swinging limbs and ceaseless gyrations, we 
must have seemed like liuman windmills, turning to 
every point of the compass at the same time. 

We leaped ourselves out of our bdots and hats and 
coats ; and, in the midst of his bewilderment, I found 
my associate endeavoring to put on a cotton-wood tree, 
and myself trying to draw a large swamp over my 
burning feet, and cover my head with a mud-bank. 

After a while, we began to grow used to it ; but, at the 
same time, seriously arrived at the conclusion, that, how- 
ever interesting such excursions might be to the natives, 
they were not altogether fascinating to civilized beings. 

So we went off precipitately through marshes and 
morasses, breathing gnats .and sand-flies as if they had 
all our lives composed our natural atmosphere ; trying to 
wipe off the blood that had started from our faces with 
our boots, and to cover our pedal extremities with our 

While we were struggling along like men under the 
pressure of forty cocktails, we heard a sharp rattle, and 
looking before us with- what eyes the gnats had left us, 
we saw two huge snakes coiled, and ready to spring. 

Rattlesnakes had no terrors for us then. , We were 

At that moment I believe I would have walked into 
the roaring mouths of a battery, or even up to the matri- 
monial altar, without shrinking. 

We regarded rattlesnakes as symbols of Secession, 
and we knew the sandflies and gnats were of the Rebel 


tribe. So we attacked tlie venomous serpents with our 
Iboots ; "beating to tlie riglit and left, quite indifferent 
wlietlier we struck them, or they struck us. 

We had leather pyrotechnics, boot Catherine wheels, 
for a short time, when the hateful rattling ceased, and we 
saw the snakes were dead. 

We thought we had killed them ; but I know now the 
flies and gnats had swarmed down their throats and 
strangled them. 

Little inclination had we to investigate the matter, but 
rushed on through the swamps, and at last reached a 
skiff— whether ours or not was a question of indifference 
— and, leaping into it, rowed over the river again. 

After we had reached the Tennessee shore, we fell into 
the back water, and ultimately got on board the Flotilla, 
with one boot between us, no hats, physiognomies that 
would have set Lavater mad to contemplate, and bear- 
ing a close resemblance to the horribly tattooed faces so 
greatly in favor with the New Zealanders. 

I looked into the glass — a thing I rarely do, for I hate 
repulsive spectacles — and, as far as my defective eyesight 
could determine, I thought I discovered a strildng resem- 
blance between myself and the Egyptian Sphynx, and 
that I appeared as if I might be a brother of the grotesque 
figure with four heads, by which the Brahmins sometimes 
represent their chief deity. 

However hideous, I looked no worse than I felt, and I 
immediately celebrated my Majdng in Arkansas by going 
into full mourning of wet towels and bread-and-milk 
poultices, and was afterwards mistaken by some intunate 
acquaintances for an Ojibeway Indian, or the Calvinistic 


Devil, escaped from the diseased mind of a Ibeliever in 
the moral effect of eternal brimstone. 

I have seen Arkansas since that occasion ; bnt I can- 
not say I regard it as fondly as Leander did the shores of 
Abydos, or Manfred the vision of Astarte. 

I . marvel much whether Job would not have blas- 
phemed had he ever gone to Mississippi county on a May 
excursion. To be afflicted with boils is bad enough ; but 
to be besieged by Arkansas gnats is absolutely beyond 
endurance ; and I know the man of Uz could not and 
would not have borne it stoically. 

Talk of straining at gnats. Who would not strain at 
them in my case ? Rather than not do so, J would take 
a contract to swallow all the camels — including the con- 
comitants of caravans — that ever crossed the Arabian 

In the midst of my pain and poultices, I cried out, 
after the manner of the son of Hilkiah : 

O that I had a deadly enemy, and I were a million of 
gnats, such as are found in Arkansas ! 

O that Arkansas hung by one silken strand over the 
abyss of Tophet, and I stood near with a glistening 
cheese-knife ! 

O that I were a Rebel, that I might hang myself for 
the good of my country, and the benefit of my example 
to my fellow-traitors ! 

that I were a Confederate note ! Then no one 
would touch me — not even a gnat. 

O that I were Jeff. Davis or Wigfall ! Then I would be 
deader than the Ptolemies. O that I were the Rebellion ! 
Then I'd be a thing of the past. 




Impressive Scene on the Flag-Ship. — Address of the Commodore. — Emotion of 
the Sailors. — Exciting Tug-Chase. 

During the siege of Fort Pillow, tlie condition of Com- 
modore A. H. Foote' s health Ibecame such that he was 
compelled to ask to Ibe relieved, and toward the latter 
part of April, 1862, he was superseded by Captain Davis, 
of the Navy. The Commodore had for several months 
been very feeble, and was often unable to go on deck for 
weeks at a time. 

When the day was appointed for the Commodore's de- 
parture there was quite a stir in the Fleet, and, as he 
was greatly beloved, his fellow-officers and the sailors 
generally deeply regretted the loss of their gallant 

When the hour came for his going up the river, the 
deck of the Benton was crowded ; and as the Flag-officer 
appeared, supported by Captain Phelps, he was greeted 
with tremendous huzzas. Old tars swung their hats, 
and not a few of their eyes moistened when they looked, 
as they supposed, upon the brave old Commodore for 
the last time, as indeed the}^ did. 

The Flag-officer paused fbr a few moments, and, re- 
moving his cap, gave those near him to understand he 
would address them. 


Tlie Commodore said he had asked to Ibe relieved he- 
cause he knew he could not fill his office in his existing 
condition of health. He was willing to sacrifice himself 
for his country, hut he knew he would he injuring the 
cause hy retaining his position any longer. 

He had heen growing feebler and feebler every day, 
and his physician had often told him he could nol? im- 
prove while exposed to the excitements of the service 
and confined to the Flag-ship. He complimented the 
officers and crew of the Benton in the highest manner. 
He had always found them faithful, brave, and true, and 
had fondly hoped to remain with them until the War was 
over. That he could not was a cause of great regret ; 
but wherever he went, he would bear with him the mem- 
ory of the Benton and her gallant crew, and, if his life 
were spared, he would often revert to the scenes he had 
passed among them with mingled feelings of sorrow and 
of pride. The interview Avas impressive and aifecting, 
and at the close the Commodore could hardly speak for 
emotion, and the tears, answered by many who were 
present, stole down his thin and pallid cheeks. 

An hour after this, the De Soto dropped down to the 
Flagship to convey the Flag-officer to Cairo, and he soon 
made his way, with the assistance of Captains Davis and 
Phelps, to the transport, where he was placed in a chair 
on the guards, looking toward the crew of the Benton, 
who stood, an anxious crowd, upon the deck. 

The Commodore was moved deeply, and was extreme- 
ly nervous, laboring greatly to conceal his agitation ; but 
he could not succeed ; and he placed a palm-leaf, which 
he carried, before his face, to hide the gushing tears. 

166 rOUR YEAES m secessia. 

As the De Soto moved away, tlie crew pulled off tlieir 
caps and gave tliree lond and hearty cheers, at which 
the Flag-officer rose from his chair and said, in an ex- 
cited manner and in hroken accents: "God bless yon 
all, my hrave companions ! I know you will succeed in 
all you undertake, for such a cause, in such hands, can 
not fail. I had hoped to stay with you. I had rather 
died with you than go away ; but I go for your good and 
the good of my country ; and I can never forget you, — 
never, never. You are as gallant and noble men as ever 
fought in a glorious cause, and I shall remember your 
merits to my dying day." 

I thought I had seen the Commodore for the last time ; 
but after the De Soto was out of sight, it was discovered 
the man had been left behind ; and Captain Phelps or- 
dered the Captain of a tug lying alongside to take the 
mail, and catch the transport by all means. 

A fellow-journahst and myself leaped on board the 
little marine Mercury, and were immediately steaming 
rapidly up the river. 

Faster and faster darted the tug through and against 
the strong currents of the MississijDpi. 

Sixty pounds of steam was all the boats were allowed 
under ordinary circumstances to carry ; but in ten min- 
utes the steam-gauge marked ninety. 

The firemen worked nobly, and the boilers glowed 
anew. The little boat fairly leaped out of the water ; 
throwing the white spray above the speeding bow. 

One hundred and ten, twenty, thirty, declared the 
steam-gauge ; but still we seemed to be gaining little on 
the De Soto. 


*'Fire up, Iboys !" shouted the Captain. "We have 
orders to catch that boat ; and I'll do it if I blow the tug 
toh— L" 

Open flew the doors of the furnace, and the coal crack- 
led in the blazing fire ; and the boilers rang shrilly and 
ominously, while the steam-gauge went up to one hun- 
dred and sixty. The tug trembled in every joint, and 
radiated heat on every side, as we darted through the 
sweeping tide of the mighty river. 

One hundred and seventy — and eighty and ninety pro- 
claimed the steam-gauge ; and as we went flying through 
the water, the engineer hallooed : " She wqn't bear much 
more. Something will break soon." 

"Let it break," shouted the Captain, who had over- 
heard the remark. "Our orders are to catch the De 
Soto, and we must do it. Never mind the tug. We'll 
do our part. If she don't do hers, that's her business." 

We were gaining rapidly on the boat. We saw her 
smoke rising around a bend ; and as we sped after her, I 
observed we were carrying exactly two hundred pounds 
of steam. 

There was something exciting in the race against time, 
and the spice of danger made it interesting. 

Grods, how hot the tiny craft was ! how swift we went ! 
She threw out heat as a house on fire. Every joint 
shook ; every seam cracked ; every square inch throbbed 
under the high pressure of the chained vapors that 
seemed burning to discharge their painful deaths upon 
the slender crew. 

The tug ran like an aqueous greyhound; and while 
we were speculating upon the chances of being blown 


into fragments, we darted through a narrow shiite, and 
in less than five minutes we passed out, and were by the 
side of the De Soto. 

The race was over. The orders had heen executed. 

Perhaps more than one person on the tug "breathed 
freer as we ran alongside and delivered the mail. But 
the excitement was gone. The interest was at an end ; 
and the tug became an ordinary tug, as the steam-gauge 
fell to seventy again, and danger dwindled away, with 
the blue vapor, into the invisible air. 

While the Captain of the tug was busy on the De Soto, 
my companion and myself went into the cabin of the 
boat, and found the Commodore lying exhausted upon a 
sofa. I then noticed for the first time how very pale, and 
worn, and thin he was. Had he remained another month 
on the Benton, I do not think he would ever have left 
her alive. 

As we approached, the Commodore extended his 
wasted hand. We expressed the hope that he would 
soon be better ; that our loss would prove his gain, 

" It is the cause that will be the gainer," answered the 
Flag-officer, feebly. " My life is nothing. My country 
is welcome to so poor an offering at any time ; but I can 
not injure our sacred cause by striving to fill a position 
for which illness has unfitted me. My country first ; 
myself afterwards." 

So we parted from the gallant Flag-officer, and never 
saw him more. 




Unexpected Appearance of the Hostile Vessels.— Commencement of the Attack. 
— Character of the Enemy's Boats. — Warm "Work on a Warm Day. — The Rebel 
Sharpshooters. — A Gallant Captain and Determined Lieutenant. — Explosion of 
a Rebel Ram. — A Paymaster acting as Gunner. — Licidents of the Fight. — 
Victory Decided in our Favor. 

The Relbels at Fort Pillow had so often made menaces 
of attack upon the National Flotilla, that no one on l^oard 
helieved they had any idea of putting their threats into 
execution. And yet for once they made their words 
good, not allowing their gasconade to end altogether in 
inanity, as it has so often done in the flatulent regions of 

It had generally been supposed, if the enemy designed 
to engage us, they would take advantage of the night, 
and endeavor to surprise us amid the darkness. No one 
imagined the Rebels would come up in the face of open 
day and offer us battle ; nor do I believe they would 
have done so, had they not learned our position the day 

When five or six of the enemy' s gunboats and two or 
three of his rams appeared, about seven o'clock, on the 
morning of May 10, 1862, above Craighead Point, they 
created some little astonishment, but no alarm, not- 
withstanding we were taken at great disadvantage. Not 
one of our boats had any thing like a fuU head of steam, 
and some of them barely a fire in their boilers. 


As the Cincinnati, Captain Roger A. Stembel, was 
about half a mile above the Point, guarding two of the 
mortars, and the other gunboats were at least a mile and 
a half still above him, the Rebel gunboat McRea, and 
three rams, the Van Dorn, Webb, and Sumter, immedi- 
ately steamed toward the solitary guardian, while the 
remainder of the hostile fleet stopped in the bend near 
the Tennessee shore, after firing half a dozen guns. 

It was evident, from the beginning, that the foe de- 
signed to make his fight with the McRea and the rams, 
not caring to expose his other gunboats to ours. 

The enemy' s gunboats, excej^ting the McRea, were_j as 
they' had been rejoresented, tow-boats, cut down to the 
boiler deck ; their machinery inclosed with iron, with 
bow and stern guns very slenderly, if at all, protected, 
save by bales of cotton, piled several feet high both fore 
and aft. 

The McRea, formerly a schooner, and very fast, was 
about one hundred and twenty-five feet long, and a fine 
model. Her engines and boilers were protected by rail- 
way iron ; and though it was supposed that she had six, 
seven, or eight guns, only two were perceptible. 

Her bow and stern were covered with bales of cotton, 
which were also piled up some distance on her deck, 
acting as breastworks ; and behind those was a large 
body of infantry and sharpshooters, whose duty it was 
to pick off whomsoever they could on our gunboats. 

The three rams, the Yan Dorn, Sumter, and Webb, 
were protected and ironed like the McRea, but were 
smaller and lower, being constructed out of tow-boats. 
The Van Dorn was formidable, having a sharp, strong 


iron prow, partially tinder water, as the McE,ea and 
Sumter had, that must have proved very effective against 
the strongest vessel. 

The two rams had stern and bow guns, and musketeers 
and riflemen, protected hy hales of cotton. 

But two sailors were on the deck of the Cincinnati, 
engaged in washing it, when the McRea, considerably in 
advance, went steaming rapidly toward her. The alarm 
was given, and the officers and crew, who were at break- 
fast, were soon at their posts. 

They had no time to get out of the way, but they fired 
their stern guns first, and then a double broadside at her 
without changing her course. The McRea struck her 
with great force on the port quarter, knocking a great 
hole in her, and immediately filling the shell-room with 

The gunboats were all built with different compart- 
ments designed to be water-tight, so that if one of them 
sprang aleak, the others would remain dry. The timber 
used, however, was green instead of seasoned ; and, 
having shrunk greatly, the filling of one compartment 
with water was equivalent to filling them all — a fault of 
the builders to which the disaster to the Cincinnati was 

The McRea now backed off and prepared herself for 
another blow ; but before she had started on her return, 
our gunboat had fired her bow guns and another broad- 
side into her, at a distance of not less than one hundred 
and fifty yards. Of course, every shot struck her, and 
some of the cotton-bales were displaced ; but she did not 
seem at all disabled. 



By tliat time tlie Van Dorn liad arrived, and, tliough 
she was received with several guns, she struck the Cin- 
cinnati in the stern, and in less than a minute the McRea 
had come a second time into collision with our craft, 
near the wheel-house, on the starboard side. 

The Cincinnati was rapidly taking water, and in a very 
unpleasant predicament ; and some of the oJSicers feared 
she Avould be sunk before the Mound City, Captain A. 
H. Kilty, which was hastening to her aid, and the Benton, 
Captain S. L. Phelps, which was dropping down without 
steam, could come to her assistance. 

Very soon, however, the Mound City arrived at the 
immediate scene of action, having been firing very accu- 
rately at the three Rebel vessels while she was making 
her mile of distance. 

Her shot struck the McRea and Van Dorn again and 
again ; and as she moved up, the former leveled her long 
guns at the bow, and was on the eve of giving her a 
raking fire, when the gallant Union craft sent a thirty- 
six pound shell against the cannon, and completely dis- 
mounted it. 

The Van Dorn now turned her attention to the Mound 
City, leaving the McRea to take care of the Cincinnati, 
which would have been the recipient of a fourth thrust, 
had not the broadside of the Benton caused the enemy 
to veer round and miss her victim. 

On the altered schooner tlie sharpshooters were active, 
trying to kill the officers at tlie same time that they in- 
sured security for themselves. Their rifles were visibly 
protruding between the cotton-bales, and thrust over their 
to]3S, and numerous bullets whizzed by the ears of our 


gallant sailors. No human figure, however, could be 
seen, except the man at the wheel ; and Captain Stembel, 
knowing how much depended on removing him, called 
for a gun, and shot the pilot, who fell apparently dead. 

A few seconds after, the pilot of the Cincinnati hallooed 

out, " There is a d d scoundrel getting ready to shoot 

you, Captain." 

Stembel, who looked up and saw a man pointing a 
gun at his head, discharged his own piece and a pair of 
revolvers, and stepped forward to screen himself behind 
the pilot-house. * 

He was too late. Before he had half covered his body 
with the intervening object, the Rebel sent into his left 
shoulder a ball that passed out of his throat, about two 
inches under his chin. 

The brave ofiicer, whose principal fault was that he 
exposed himself too recklessly, fell to the deck, and it 
was supposed, at first, he was killed. He was picked 
up and carried below, where he retained his conscious- 
ness, and every few seconds opened his eyes and 
anxiously inquired as to the progress of the battle. His 
wounds were so serious, however, that he was not able 
to resume his duties for a number of months. 

The Cincinnati seemed settling ; and as Lieutenant 
William Hoel had then succeeded to the command, he, 
under the impression that the boat would soon be at the 
bottom of the river, addressed the crew for a few seconds, 
telling them never to remove the American ensign, but 
to go down with it, if they mast go down, and giving 
three cheers for the Stars and Stripes. 

That little speech, so full of genuine patriotism and 


courage, made the sailors shout lustily ; and then they 
turned away to their duties. 

The Cincinnati was rolling from side to side, and the 
inexorable McRea was, for the iifth time, running toward 
her. That blow might have been attended with disas- 
trous consequences ; but, as she was speeding to the 
crippled craft, the Benton fired two of her rifled Dahl- 
grens, and one of them passed through the boilers of 
the McRea, which exploded with a tremendous noise, 
that was but faintly heard, however, above the roar of 

Her deck was observed to rise, while piercing shrieks 
rent the air, and a number of persons were seen to leap 
on the cotton-bales, and fall back wounded, dying, and 

At that moment she hauled down her soiled Rebel 
flag, and Captain Phelps, of the Benton, ordered his men 
to fire on her no more. The McRea still floated down, 
and as she was turning the point she again hoisted 
her tattered ensign, and disappeared behind the inter- 
vening land. 

After the McRea had passed out of sight, and while 
the Van Born and another ram called the Sumter were 
engaged with the Mound City, the tug Dauntless ran 
out to the Cincinnati, and towed her to the Tennessee 

Though disabled, the officers of the Cincinnati were 
still disposed to fight, and more desperately than ever, 
and would have sunk in the middle of the Mississippi 
with their brave spirits unconquered. 

Just before the McRea exploded her boiler, Cap- 


tain Stembel's crew liad been prepared for resisting 
boarders, as it was tliouglit some of the enemy's gnn- 
boats or rams would make an attempt of the kind. The 
sailors were ready with revolvers, cutlasses, boarding- 
pikes, and hand-grenades, and unfortunate and summary 
would have been the fate of the Rebels if they had made 
tlie rash effort. The Union crew were very anxious to 
giye the foe a warm reception, and a howl of disappoint- 
ment arose as they beheld their last hope of engaging the 
McRea fade away. 

The Mound City, Captain A. H. Kilty, fought the Van 
Dorn and Sumter bravely ; the Captain being on deck 
all the while, and firing at the pilots with a musket. 
Every man on the boat was active and watchful, and it 
was very strange no one was hit by the enemy, as a steady 
fire of rifles was kept up from behind the cottoh-bales. 

The Mound City bore many marks of musket-balls on 
her pilot-house and paddle-boxes, and the officers heard 
the music of the small leaden vocalists more than once 
in close proximity to their imperiled ears. 

Paymaster Gunn — afterwards killed in action up the 
White River — although he knew nothing whatever of 
artillery or projectiles, and had no duties to perform 
in the gun-room, seeing two pieces lying idle, induced 
a couple of men to load them, and pointing the cannon 
at the Yan Dorn, only a hundred yards distant, had the 
satisfaction of planting two shells in the very center of the 
ram, which appeared to do excellent execution. 

The Sumter had struck the Mound City twice with 
her iron prow, but had done her little damage ; while the 
gunboat had riddled the ram, and so alarmed the sharp- 


sliooters that they remained silent, cowering behind their 
defenses. The Yan Dorn finally had a favorable chance, 
and struck the Mound City with great force on the bow, 
causing a large leak, which there was no time to attempt 
to stop. 

The Benton was now near the rams, which were so 
afraid of the flagship, knowing her superior strength, 
that they steamed away from her as soon as possible. 
The Benton placed herself between the Van Dorn and 
Sumter, and fired four or five guns at a third ram, which 
was running toward the Carondelet, and, striking her 
wheels and machinery, disabled her. 

That ram, said to be the Webb, began floating off" with 
the current, and, as she neared the point, the Benton fired 
two of her fifty-pound Dahlgrens, and the next minute 
steam was pouring out of every part of her. 

Soon after one of her boilers exploded, and she was 
half a wreck as the last glimpse was caught of her, -pass- 
ing the first fortifications of Pillow. 

The Van Dorn appeared to bear a particular hatred to 
the mortar rafts, which must have annoyed the enemy 
not a little with their perpetual firing over the irremova- 
ble Craighead. She even paused from her attack on the 
Mound City, and fired two thirty-two pounders at the 
crew of one of the mortars, perforating the thin coat of 
ii-on as if it had been glass. 

The Rebel marines fired a number of shots at the 
mortar-men, and two of the Secession ofiicers climbed 
on the cotton-bales with muskets, and discharged their 
pieces, but Avith ]io effect. 

Tiie mortar-men were not to be bullied; so the crew 


loaded one of tlie monsters, and sent a tliirteen-incli shell 
in tlie direction of the Van Dorn. The enemy was not 
materially injured, for the Ibomb coi|,^'sed off at an angle 
of forty-five degrees. 

For four or five minutes the Benton, under the control 
of the cool and skillful pilot, Horace Bigsby, turned 
several times completely round as on an axis, firing in 
succession her Tdow, stern, and broadside guns. The 
Rebels knew her strength — indeed, they had long been 
acquainted with the particularities of the Flotilla as well 
as we ourselves — and did not dare to attack her ; and 
as she riddled their rams with her guns, they felt they 
had no prospect of success, and at last made an effort to 
get out of harm's way. 

That they had much difficulty in doing, in consequence 
of the condition of their machinery ; and the rams were 
often struck by the Mound City and Benton before they 
could escape. The former gunboat fairly touched the 
stern of the Van Dorn once, and fired a Dahlgren, 
whose ball passed entirely through her, and must have 
proved very destructive to human life. 

The Rebel gunboats in the lead, near the Tennessee 
shore, perceived the danger of their allies, but lacked the 
nerve to go to their assistance, and at last steamed down 
the river, leaving the rams to their fate. 

The Yan Dorn, Sumter, and Webb, at last happened 
to strike a favorable current, and passed away from the 
Benton, which was very unwieldy, and floated toward 
the Point. 

Had our gunboats at the time had more power — by that 
I mean a higher pressure of steam — they would have ex- 


perienced no tronlble in conveying tlie hostile rams to 
Plum Point as prizes. 

The rebel gunboats having fled, and the rams escaped, 
the battle was of course over ; no enemy remaining to be 

Cheer after cheer went up from our Flotilla as the ene- 
my, one after another, dropped away, and three times 
three arose from the flagship while the last of the Rebel 
rams was passing by Craighead Point. 

Only three of our gunboats were engaged ; but the 
Carondelet, Captain Henry Walke, and the St. Louis, 
Captain H. Erben, Jr. , fired a number of shots from their 
original positions off the Arkansas shore ; thongli it was 
not probable, at the long range, that they did any mate- 
rial damage to the foe. 

The action did not occupy more than half an hour, and 
much of it was concealed by the heavy smoke that rested 
like a vast fog upon the river, on the close, hot, blazing 
morning of the engagement. Our skiff's, yawls, and tugs 
were plying here and there, occupied by persons anxious 
to witness the fight, which surprised every one by its 
brevity. Our sailors had counted on a long battle, and 
were therefore disappointed, but the engagement was 
warm Avliile it lasted. 

Our success, under the circumstances, was very flatter- 
ing, for it cannot be denied that the attack was well 
planned and matured by the foe, and was at least a 
partial surprise to us. No one on the Flotilla had any 
idea of tlie Rebels coming up to engage us. And the 
Cincinnati did not see the McRea or the rams before they 
had gotten some distance above the Point. 





A Gasconading Rebel. — The Brilliant Gunboat Fight. — The Vessels Engaged. — 
The Nautical Situation. — Commencement of tlie Action. — Union Rams Taking 
Part. — Increased "Warmth of the Contest. — Sinking of the General LoveU. — 
Magnanimity of our Seamen. — Flight of tlie Southern Commodore. — Explosion 
of the Jeff. Thompson. — Harmony of Northerners and Southerners after the 
City's Occupation, 

Betweeist five and six o' clock on the morning of June 
6, 1862, the most spirited and decisive battle that had 
occurred on the Mississippi was fought, for the posses- 
sion of Memphis, opposite that city, Ibetween five of our 
gunboats, assisted by two of our rams, and eight of the 
enemy's gunboats. The engagement was witnessed by 
thousands of the citizens, who expected, no doubt, to see 
the Unionists driven from the river, as they had been 
frequently told by Commodore Edward Montgomery, 
that he would, when the proper time came, annihilate 
the Avhole Yankee fleet. 

The fight was a glorious one. Out of eight of the hos- 
tile vessels, seven were destroyed, sunk, or captured, 
and but one escaped ; while only one of our rams was 
injured, and but two persons were slightly wounded. 

The Union gunboats, five in number, Benton, Cairo, 
Caro^delet, Louisville, and St. Louis, and the two rams, 


Queen of the West and tlie Monarcli, left tlieir moorings 
"below Paddy's Hen and Chickens — as the group of 
islands five miles above Memphis is called hy steamboat 
men — aboift half-past four in the morning, and slowly 
steamed toward the city. 

The morning was clear and calm, balmy and beautiful ; 
and, after passing a bend in the river, we saw the city in 
the distance, reposing very quietly upon the border <^ 
the broad stream that had poured whatever Memphis had 
of wealth into her ungrateful lap. 

The river was clear of all craft. Not even a sldff 
skimmed its surface, and the officers of the fleet thought 
we should meet with no opposition to our possession of 
the city. The seamen were very fearful lest that would 
prove true, and prayed, after their peculiar nautical 
fashion, that the Rebel vessels would come out and give 
ns fight. 

After the engagement of the lOtli of May, the gunboat 
crews felt as if that action required continuation, and 
they were longing for another battle most anxiously. 

The sailors' orisons seemed to be answered. 

The Flotilla was just opposite the upper part of the 
city, when the boats of the Rebel Fleet were seen in a 
slight bend of the river, about a mile and a quarter 

Our crews cheered lustily at the grateful vision, for 
they knew there was a prospect for a fight. The Flotilla 
still steamed leisurely along, and the enemy soon ad- 
vanced towards us. 

Commodore Davis did not wish to bring on an engage- 
ment at so early an hour, preferring that the men should 


eat tlieir Ibreakfast, and tlius Ibe qualified to figlit "better 
tlian when suffering from physical depletion. He there- 
fore ordered the five vessels under his command to re- 
treat; and the foe, perceiving that, grew evidently em- 
l)oldened, believing we were anxious to avoid a battle. 

As we retraced our course the enemy followed, and, 
in a few minutes, the flagship Little Rebel, on which was 
Commodore Montgomery, fired a shot at the Benton, 
which was in the van, without injuring her, and then a 
second and third, with the same effect. 

This braggadocio became intolerable. Commodore 
Davis must have so regarded it, for he at once ordered 
an advance, and the Benton, Captain W. L. Phelps, and 
the Louisville, Captain B. M. Dove, assumed the front 
position, with the Cairo, Captain Bryant, the Carondelet, 
Captain Henry Walke, and the St. Louis, Captain Wilson 
McGunnigle, in the rear. 

The hostile fleet, in addition to the flagship, was com- 
posed of General Beauregard, General Bragg, Jeff. 
Thompson, General Lovell, General Price, Sumter, and 
General Yan Dorn. 

The Cairo was the first of our boats to discharge a gun 
at the enemy, and followed it up by two more that fell 
very near the Little Rebel, without striking her. 

The Carondelet and Louisville imitated the worthy 
example, and the Lovell and Thompson, Bragg and 
Price, on the other side, took part in the nautical enter- 
tainment, and lent the deep bass of their guns to the 
warlike concert. 

In less than three minutes both fieets were engaged 
in a most animated action, and every vessel was thun- 


dering away to tlie "best of its capacity. The river and 
sky seemed to shake "beneath the roar. 

Tlie Iboats were gradually approaching nearer each 
other, and were enveloped in such a volume of smoke 
that one could hardly he distinguished from the other, 
except when a fresh, stiff breeze lifted the curtain of 
heavy vapor. 

The engagement continued thus for more than twenty 
minutes, and at the end of that time the combatants 
were more than haK a mile apart, and were still firing 

We had frequently hit their boats, but they had not 
touched ours ; their gunners being in a state of excite- 
ment or unskillfulness that caused them to entirely waste 
their ammunition. 

At this juncture, two Cincinnati rams, the Queen of 
the West and Monarch, appeared about half a mile be- 
hind the Flotilla; and the enemy, as soon as he per- 
ceived them, began to retreat, conscious if he could not 
sustain the attack before, he would be still less able to 
do it after the rams had entered upon the action. 

The Queen of the West darted out at rapid speed 
ahead of its companion toward the Beauregard, which 
fired at her opponent four times without striking her 
once, though in one or two instances no more than two 
hundred yards distant. 

The ram, nothing disconcerted, ran in boldly, design- 
ing to butt the Rebel near the bow, and would have 
done so, had not the gunboat been so adroitly managed 
by her pilot. The Beauregard moved suddenly to the 
right as the ram passed — the movement was very skill- 


fal and very opportune for tlie enemy — causing the latter 
to miss lier aim altogether. 

The ram, finding herself thus foiled, determined to test 
her capacity upon another vessel, and so turned her at- 
tention to the General Price, and hit her heavily on the 
wheel-house before she could get out of the way, tearing 
off a good portion of her side. 

The Beauregard immediately went to the rescue, and 
was steaming towards the ram, when the latter reversed 
her engines and receded a few yards, causing the gun- 
hoat to collide with the injured Price, and knock a large 
hole in her bow. 

Such peculiar attention from an ally was unexpected, 
and more than the Price could endure, for she had been 
leaking from her first injury, and now the water poured 
into her in streams. 

The Beauregard seemed inclined to avenge her own 
mistake upon the Queen ; and, before the latter was well 
aware, struck her a heavy blow upon the side that made 
her timbers crack, and take water freely. 

The water was quite deep at that point, and there was 
a probability the ram and gunboat would both sink ; 
but, to remove doubt on the subject for one of the pair, 
the Beauregard was on the point of hitting the ram a 
second time, when the close proximity of the Monarch 
induced her to look out for her own safety. 

The Beauregard fired several times at the Monarch, 
and struck her once upon the wooden bulwarks, with- 
out producing any particular effect. The Monarch then 
took charge of the Queen and the Price, and towed 
them ashore to prevent them from sinking ; though not 


"before she had made a large hole in the stern of the 
Beauregard, and rendered her prospect of keeping 
above water, for any length of time, extremely prob- 

The Beauregard was crippled, but as she was still able 
to run fairly, and to render obedience to the helmsman, 
she continued to participate in the fight with great ob- 

During the scenes of the action in which the rams had 
taken part, the gunboats had continued firing steadily 
and heavily; the Unionists often hitting the Rebels, 
while the latter missed their objects almost invariably. 

Tlie gunboats on both sides, having been separated 
somewhat by the rams, came up nearer, again to pay 
their respects to each other, and the cannonading grew 
heavier than it had been at any previous time. The dis- 
tant report of the single guns was lost — they all blended 
together in one loud, deafening roar. 

The Benton was still in the van, and within range of 
the Lovell, when Captain P.helps thought he would try 
one of the fifty-pound rifled Parrotts on the foe. 

The conical shell went Avhizzing out of the long and 
formidable piece into the Lovell, just above her water- 
line, cutting a deep hole in her, and increasing the rate 
of her insurance fearfullj^. 

The Lovell, it was immediately discovered, was leak- 
ing lils;e a sieve, and indeed she was already beginning 
to sink rapidly, and, from aj)pearance, must go down 
very soon. 

Her crew appeared aware of this, for they were seen 
on the side of the vessel, forgetful of every thing but 



tlieir own safety. Self-preservation was their only law 
at that juncture. 

The Lovell was descending lower and lower, and the 
Benton, anxious to save any of the poor fellows that 
might he launched into the rapid river, prepared her 
cutter, which, in the haste, was twice swamped. 

The seamen were soon in the cutter, however, and 
approaching the doomed gunboat, which had just run 
up a flag of truce, and which, thirty seconds after, went 
down in fourteen fathoms of water. 

At least twenty- five or thirty of the Rehels leaped 
overboard after the accident, with the intention of swim- 
ming ashore. Some of them succeeded ; but the greater 
part perished miserably in the stream. 

The Union flag-ship reached the spot in time to pick up 
ten or twelve poor fellows struggling in the river, and 
save them at least from the death which Friar John, in 
Rabelais, predicted would not fall to the lot of Panurge, 
and would never occur to them for the same reason. 

The efforts of the loyal seamen to preserve the lives of 
those who had been but a few minutes before their 
avowed and bitter enemies, was a beautiful spectacle, 
and proved conclusively the falseness of the charges of 
inhumanity and blood-thirstiness which the Secessionists 
have brought against the brave and loyal people of the 

From the first inception of the fight, the wharf and 
bluffs of Memphis had been crowded with interested and 
anxious spectators ; and as the boats moved down the 
river the throng followed, as if fearful they would lose 
the smallest part of the highly exciting battle. The 


people were tlms made witnesses of our actions and those 
of tlie Re"bels, and were not to be deceived with Mun- 
chausen-like stories, when they had the facts immediately 
before their eyes. 

The magnanimity of the crew of the Benton mnst have 
had a salutary influence upon them, for it proved that 
loyal hearts were as generous as they were brave. 

The Little Rebel was leaking more and more rapidly, 
and, having been struck several additional times with 
heavy shot, Commodore Edward Montgomery doubtless 
began to feel uneasy, and therefore ran the flagship over 
to the Arkansas shore, where she was followed by the 
Carondelet so closely that her officers had no time to burn 
her — as was doubtless their intention — but had ample 
leisure to leap on the bank and escape through the 

The Carondelet threw a dozen shells among the trees 
after the alarmed fugitives, but did them, in all proba- 
bility, not the least harm. It is said that Commodore 
Montgomery was the first man ashore — he, the truculent 
boaster and presumptuous braggart, who had ever 
been threatening to devour the Yankees, and completely 
depopulate the d — d Abolition North. 

Perhaps he thought, as John B. Floyd said at Donel- 
son, he could not afford to be taken. 

Queer — is it not ? — that the fellows who prate so un- 
ceasingly of their determination to die upon the smallest 
provocation, and affect such magnificent indifference to 
death, should, when the test comes, reveal more love of 
existence than the most ordinary and least obtrusive 
natures, that never defied a respectable shadow. 


The Jeif. Thompson was struck a immlber of times, and 
was so severely injured that she also was run to the 
Arkansas shore, about a mile below the city, and deserted 
by her officers and crew, after the manner of the Little 

A shell had set the vessel on fire ; but the flames were 
extinguished — or it was thought they were — by some of 
the Union sailors in gigs, and the five uninjured ships of 
the E'ational Fleet continued their pursuit of the Sumter, 
General Bragg, and Van Dorn. 

After the gunboats had followed the retreating enemy 
a mile further, firing steadily, and the Rebels replying, 
though more and more feebly as the chase was extended, 
the Sumter' s pilot put her head to the Arkansas side, and 
beached her, giving her valiant crew the means of escape 
through the wilds and swamps of that classic State. 

The General Bragg had received a shot through her 
wheel-house, early in the action, and was unable to move 
about very readily ; but she contrived to get over the 
river, thus furnishing the frightened Rebels an oppor- 
tunity to emigrate further South. 

The General Yan Dorn, the only boat now remaining 
of the Rebel Fleet, was still steaming toward President's 
Island, three miles below the city. The Cairo and Caron- 
delet followed her for two miles, hoping to cripple her 
with a shot, but neither of them succeeded, and they at 
last gave up the pursuit. 

Surely our gallant sailors ought to have been satisfied 
with the brilliant successes of that day. They had placed 
liors de combat seven out of eight of the insurgent 
vessels, and had gained one of the most brilliant naval 



victories on record, without any loss to themselves worthy 
of mention. 

While the Union gunboats were on their way to the 
city, they perceived that the Jeff Thompson, lying off' the 
Arkansas shore, was on fire again, and the flames were 
pouring out all over her deck. 

The cause of the new conflagration was not positively 
known. Some persons declared that the old flames burst 
out anew ; and others, that the gunboat was set on fire by 
a party of Rebels who returned to the vessel, applying 
the torch after the Flotilla had passed down the river. 

The latter opinion was probably correct. The Jeff. 
Thompson was blazing higher and higher, and the 
flames attracted a crowd of persons to the Tennessee 
shore, because it was supposed she would blow up as 
soon as the fire reached her magazine. 

The gunboat appeared to burn for hours, so much did 
expectation burden time, and the flames were creeping 
down to the water' s edge, apparently ; and yet no indica- 
tion had been given of an explosion. It was supposed 
that the powder had been removed from the Thompson, 
and a number of pei-sons were turning away disappointed, 
when a tremendous explosion rent the air, and an im- 
mense flame shot up into tlie radiant morning, while 
hundreds of heavy reports were heard in rapid succes- 
sion half a mile above our heads. 

Those were the shells of the gunboat, which had been 
thrown upward with ignited fuses from the vessel, and 
burst with the tremendous crackling sound that vast 
buildings sometimes give before they fall to the earth in 


Looking over to the spot where the Jeff. Thompson 
was, we saw nothing but a few Iblack and charred frag- 
ments on the water. She had been literally blown to 
atoms — a worthy fate for a Rebel vessel, and typical of 
the termination of the Rebel cause. 

* * * * 

The most -pleasant relations seemed to exist between the 
Union parties that captured Memphis on the 6th and the 
resident citizens ; and it was amusing to observe how 
amiable, and almost fraternal, were the associations be- 
tween the Bohemians from 'New York, Cincinnati, Chi- 
cago, and St. Louis, and the journalists of Memphis, 
recently so ferociously malignant and bitterly vindictive 
against the Abolition Press. 

The Bluff City journalists called upon us daily at the 
Flotilla, or at our head-quarters in the city, and we talked 
and laughed over the gasconade of the South, its mighty 
promises and small performances, in a most pleasant man- 
ner. One could have seen the JVeio York Tribune and 
the MempMs Appeal sitting in pleasing converse over a 
bottle of champagne, at the dinner-table of the G-ayoso ; 
the Chicago Tribune and Memphis Argus strolling 
through Court Square, arm-in-arm ; and the Oincinnati 
Times and the Memphis Avalanche, forgetful of the pre- 
sent, discussing the relative merits of Grisi and Gazzaniga 
on the lyric stage. Wlio, after that, could say the jour- 
nalists were not an amiable and a forgiving race, and that 
the people of the T^orth and South were not a band of 
brothers ? 

If the day of our occupation was not a gala-day in 
Memphis, it appeared strangely otherwise. It reminded 


me of a Fourth of July I had passed there a few years 
Ibefore, except that it was far more quiet and orderly. 
The people stood in knots and groups in the streets, at the 
corners, Ibefore the hotels and restaurants, but were not 
uneasy or annoyed. 

The negroes lounged listlessly about, and seemed to 
regard the whole thing as a pleasant joke, or a glorious 
event — it was difficult from the expression of their coun- 
tenances to determine which. 

The women were not in force, but most of them were / 
of that class of which Memphis had ever had far more 
than her just proportion. Still, there were not a few of 
th€ sex abroad; and a number I saw sitting in their 
parlors, or on their door-steps, were eminently correct in 
conduct and respectable in appearance. 

No dark looks, no rude gestures, no studied insult from 
them. They conducted themselves in a most lady-like 
manner ; and even the lorette class were subdued and 

The Cyprians were often young and comely, and expen- 
sively attired, though frequently with sober and excellent 
taste. They were too broad to be bound by political 
creeds or formulas. They were universal. 

Hundreds of them had witnessed the naval engagement 
from the bluff, and one of the city papers had assumed 
that they were Southern ladies, who could not restrain 
their tears of mortification and rage when they beheld the 
discomfiture and almost total destruction of the hostile 

The idea of their weeping ! The source of their tears 
had long been diied. They mourned not for Adonais 


dead, or living either. What cared tliey whicli side 
was victorious ? What was Hecuba to tliem, or they to 
Heculba ? 

Curiosity and personal interest called them forth on 
that day ; and many of them, no doubt, speculated from 
the first hour of the Union occupation upon the same sub- 
ject — though from a different motive — that so perplexed 
the mind of the, antique female at the siege of Saragossa. 

Memphis bore all the appearance of a subjugated 
city ; and yet it had been as violent in its treason as 

The people accepted their altered condition without 
a murmur ; and they were wise in so doing. 

When I saw our gunboats with their ports triced up, 
and the long, black guns bearing on the town, I must 
confess I rather liked the new order of things. 

I was glad Memphis had learned the lesson so many 
other nests of treason have since learned to their severest 




I' jbject and Strength. — Cautious Progress. — Character of the Stream. — Des- 
peration of the Arlcansans. — Progress of the Fleet. — The Engagement near 
St. Charles. — Position of the Hostile Fortifications. — Explosion of the Mound 
City. — Terrible Destruction by Steam. — Horrible Scenes of SufiFering. — Inhu- 
manity and Barbarity of the Eebels. — Their Defeat and Punishment. 

The White River expedition left Mempliis, Tennessee, 
in June, 1862, for tlie purpose of ascending that stream 
as far as Jacksonport, three hundred and fifty miles from 
the mouth, supplying General Curtis' s force with pro- 
visions, and capturing the transports the Rel)els were 
supposed to have stolen and concealed there. 

The expedition, which was only partially successful, 
consisted of the iron-clad gunboats Mound City (flag- 
ship), the St. Louis, the two wooden gunboats, Lexing- 
ton and Conestoga ; with the tug Spitfire, armed with a 
twenty-pound howitzer, and the transports NeAV National, 
White Cloud, and D. Musselman, carrying part of 
Colonel G. N. Fitch' s Forty-sixth Indiana regunent, and 
a large amount of supplies. 

The expedition tarried at the confluence of the Missis- 
sippi from Saturday afternoon until IMonday morning, 
and then proceeded cautiously and slowly up the river, 
having heard obstructions had been placed in the water, 
and batteries erected to resist the progress of the fleet. 


The gunlboats steamed along — tlie flagsliip in advance, 
the St. Louis in her wake, and the wooden Iboats about 
half a mile behind — all of Monday, without meeting any 
thing of consequence, or the least exciting occurrence. 

Monday night they anchored in the stream, which, 
though quite deep, is very narrow ; being in some places 
no more than two hundred yards from bank to bank. 

There are bluffs, or more properly ridges, along the 
river at intervals ; and these ridges rise to hights of thirty, 
forty, and fifty feet, rendering the stream very favorable 
for defense. 

Almost anywhere on the White, a skilled marksman 
could shoot an enemy in the middle of the river, and in 
many places on the opposite bank. 

Captain Kilty, of the Mound City, had been informed 
that Rebel batteries had been planted near St. Charles, 
Arkansas, about seventy miles from the mouth ; but, 
when he had made that distance, he saw no signs of 

However, to obtain as early intelligence of them as pos- 
sible, he began to shell the woods along the banks, which, 
in various localities, offered fine opportunities for ambus- 
cade. The St. Louis and Conestoga also threw shells, 
while the Lexington lingered in the rear to guard the 
transports, and to preserve a sharp look-out for the 

The Arkansans had for some time been growing desper- 
ate, and more than usually menacing, on account of the 
overrunning of their State by the "Yankee hordes of 
barbarians," and the peculiar tantrums of Governor Rec- 
tor. They were fearful, no doubt, if thoroughly invaded 


Iby the Northern people, tliat they might grow civilized ; 
and if such an unnatural thing should happen, they 
would lose their identity completely, and cease to be re- 
garded in this country as the Patagonians are by the 
nations of Europe. 

The brilliant prestige of Arkansas would be gone. Its 
classic communities would turn their attention from the 
high-toned and chivalrous amusements of imbibing Minie 
rifle wliisky, and assassinating unarmed men, to the vile 
Yankee habits of healthful employment and general 

The Union Fleet had proceeded something over eighty 
miles up White River, when the vessels were fired upon 
from a battery on the south side, but so hidden among 
the trees that the officers could hardly determine the spot 
whence the pieces were discharged. 

The guns of the enemy were not very heavy, sounding 
like twelve and twenty-four pounders ; and subsequent 
examination proved they were such. 

Two of the shots struck the casemates of the St. Louis, 
but glanced off harmless, while most of them passed over 
the deck. 

The Mound City and St. Louis both fired at the Eebel 
batteries, and frequently perceived that their shells fell 
very near, if not inside of, the works. 

After seven or eight minutes, the enemy appeared 
fatigued with his efforts and fired only at intervals, 
whereupon the Mound City pushed on, leaving the first 
battery to the St. Louis and Conestoga, which were 
throwing a few shells at the Eebel fortifications at a mile's 


At that place there was a Ibend in the river, and further 
up a more decided turn toward the South, the general 
course of the stream being East and West. 

The first battery was opposite the former bend, on the 
top of a ridge, about fifty feet high ; and the opinion that 
it had a companion was soon established by a heavy re- 
port from a point half a mile above, the howl of a round 
shot across the bow of the Mound City, and the burial of 
the iron missile in the bank on the opposite side. 

A second shot came, but it went wide of the mark, and 
cut oif the branches of a tree two hundred yards in the rear 
of the vessel. The new ordnance was heavier than that 
in the lower battery ; and the flagship promptly pro- 
ceeded to pay her compliments to the loud-voiced stranger. 

The Mound City fired her bow guns twice, and then 
her port guns, as she steamed up the river a little fur- 
ther — making the distance between her and the upper 
battery less than half a mile. 

The second fortification was on the same bluff or ridge 
as its fellow, but a little further from the shore, and in a 
southwesterly direction from the flagship, preventing 
its guns from bearing directly on the Mound City. 

The effect of the flagship's shots could not not be well 
determined ; but they appeared to be falling where the 
gunners desired, and the cannonade on her part, as well 
as on that of the St. Louis, was warmly kept up for 
eight or ten minutes ; less than twenty having elapsed 
since the first gun had been fired from the lower battery. 

In the mean time. Colonel Fitch had landed his five or 
six hundred men on the southern bank, below the first 
battery, with the intention of attacking the upper works 


in tlie rear, and surprising tlie enemy at his guns, whicli 
lie had no doubt of accomplishing. 

The Colonel was already on the march, and had sig- 
naled the Mound City to cease firing, that his own men 
might not "be injured, when an unanticipated accident, 
of the most horrible character, almost entirely destroyed 
the oflicers and crew of the flagship. 

A large cylindrical shot, with iron flanges on each 
side, known among the Rebels as the pigeon- shot, struck 
the casemates on the port side, in the upper port, near 
the first gun, at an angle of ^bout ninety degrees, passing 
through the casemate and connecting -pipe of the boilers, 
killing a gunner on the starboard side, and alighting in 
the steward' s pantry. 

The efiect of severing the connecting-pipe may be 

All tlie steam of the boilers at once rushed, with a 
shrill, hissing sound, into every part of the gunboat, 
which presented no means for its escape except through 
the port-holes and skylights. 

It was like injecting steam into an air-tight box ; and 
when we remember that there were nearly one hundred 
and eighty human beings' below the deck, the ineffable 
horror of their situation may readily be conceived. 

The burning steam fairly mowed them down. They 
shrieked, and leaped, and writhed with pain. But the 
steam did not pity them : it seemed rather to delight in 
their sufferings, extending its vaporous torture to new 

Horrors upon horrors accumulated in that low, square, 
seetliing, boiling, fiery inclosure, where man endured 


all the fal^led agonies of the damned, and yet could 
not die. 

To some, Fate was merciful, for they perished at once. 
As many as forty-five or fifty, who had stood on the gun- 
deck a few moments before, with buoyant hopes and 
elated spirits, lay there in pallid death, unconscious of 
the pain around them, of the terrible moaning and groan- 
ing of the sufferers. 

It was easy to die, but it was hard to suffer so. And 
many a pain-gleaming eye turned to the scalded corpses 
that strewed the deck, and wondered in agonizing accents 
why Heaven had not been so kind to all. 

Oh, the horror of that scene ! Oh, the fearful power 
of man to sufier ! 

Who that saw what was visible that day can ever for- 
get it ? 

Will not that wail of distress fall upon his ear in dreams, 
and make him start in dread even from the arms of her 
he loves above his life ? 

As soon as the first shock had passed, those who had 
not been slain, from full inhalation of the steam, were 
prompted, mad with pain, to leap into the river to cool 
their burning bodies. 

The impulse appeared to seize upon all simultaneously, 
and out of the open ports plunged one wretch after 
another, until seventy or eighty were struggling in the 

Some were so badly scalded that they could not swim, 
and they, most fortunately, were drowned ; while others, 
refreshed and cooled by the river, struck out for the 
bank, as if they had been uninjured. 


At that crisis, wlieii every principle of humanity called 
for aid and succor, the Rebels proved themselves worthy 
of the antecedents that had dishonored and disgraced 
them from the heginning of the War. 

Instead of imitating the example of generosity and 
magnanimity set them hy a brave and loyal people, strug- 
gling for the preservation of a great and glorious country ; 
forgetting the heroic conduct shown by our seamen, who 
endeavored, in the gunboat fight off Memphis, to save the 
lives of the unfortunate crew of the General Lovell when 
she went down — ^the Rebels, most merciless and dastardly, 
mad^ every effort to destroy the poor fellows who, with 
agonized bodies, were seeking to reach either the land or 
our vessels. 

Perpetual shame and eternal infamy to the people who 
could forget the common promptings of Nature in the 
demoniac hatred that strove only to destroy ! 

The gunners in the upper battery turned their guns 
upon the suffering officers and seamen of the Mound City ; 
and Captain Fry, the Commander of the works, ordered 
his sharpshooters to kill every Yankee before he could 
reach the shore, or succor could be brought. 

The devilish enemy needed no second bidding. He 
ran with alacrity down to the boat, and there, under 
cover of the trees, fired muskets and rifles at the wounded 
swimmers with a cool diabolism that a South Sea Islander 
would have blushed to witness. 

Many a brave fellow was killed and sank in the river, 
and others were wounded several times before they ob- 
tained the needful assistance from their loyal friends. 

Tlie Mound City was powerless, and drifting with the 


current. She could not aid them ; and the St. Lonis was 
then opposite the lower fortifications. 

The Conestoga, wMch was just below the Mound City, 
promptly lowered two of her boats, and sent them to 
save the survivors of the horrible accident. 

IN'o sooner had her gigs been manned, and no sooner 
were the seamen pulling at their oars, on the divine er- 
rand of mercy, than the upper work opened its heavy 
guns upon the succorers of distress. 

The Union gigs were struck — one in the bow, the other 
in the stern ; but, strange to say, they were not swamped, 
nor were they prevented from rescuing from the river 
some of the ill-fated crew. 

A third boat from the St. Louis was struck with Rebel 
shot, and shattered ; but none of the inmates were hurt 
or drowned. 

The enemy was still bent on his demonaic work, and 
would have fired his last cartridge at the defenseless 
sailors, had not the brave Indianians, under Colonel 
Fitch, succeeded by that time in reaching the rear of the 
fortifications that Captain Fry commanded, and arrested 
the fearful progress of deliberate murder. 

The Forty- sixth Indiana rushed with a shout and a 
volley of musketry into the hostile works, and then 
charged with bayonets the inhuman foe. 

The Rebels were completely taken by surprise. Before 
they had time to throw down their arms, or cry for 
quarter, they were lying in their intrenchments and their 
life-blood ebbing away. 

Some of the Secessionists fought with dogged obstinacy 
against superior numbers, and fell covered with ghastly 


wounds. Their "bravery commands respect, "but their 
cruelty must forever dishonor their memory. 

Those of the Relbels along the shore who had l)een. 
firing at the Unionists in the water, were soon charged 
upon by the Indianians, for whom they did not wait, but 
+jok to flight along the bank toward the village of St. 

A portion of the insurgents ran to a place above where 
the river had been obstructed, and, jumping into a few 
small boats they had moored there, crossed the stream 
and disappeared in the woods. 

The rout was complete. The victory was ours ! but, 
alas, at what a price ! 

The White River by that time began to fall rapidly, 
and on that account the expedition returned ; the oflBlcers 
commanding it having serious apprehensions, if they 
continued up the stream, that their vessels would get 
aground and be lost. 




Trip from Louisville to Frankfort. — The Occupation of tlie Kentucky Capital by 
the Enemy. — Sudden Conversion of Romantic Women to Loyalty. — The In- 
auguration of the Pseudo-Governor. — Sudden Exodus of the Usurpers ; their 
Strange Self-Delusion. — Bohemians in the Horse-Market. — The Battle of Per- 
ryviHe. — A Journahstic Rebel Colonel. — Sketch of John H. Morgan. 

During the Bragg-Buell Campaign in Kentucky, in 
Octolber, 1862, wlien the Rebels partially occupied the 
State, I learned at Louisville, on the evening of the 8th 
instant, that the Louisville and Frankfort Railway had 
heen repaired, and that a train would leave for the Capi- 
tal very early the following morning. Consequently, a 
fellow-Bohemian and myself deemed it journalistically 
wise to visit the recent scene of the Rebel occupation. 

On board the cars we found the morning papers, which 
announced that John H. Morgan, with three thousand 
cavalry, had taken the town after General Sill's depart- 
ure, and still held it in his undisputed possession. Many 
doubted the statement, while others affirmed its truth. 
We concluded to solve the question to our own satisfac- 
tion, and pay a visit to John Morgan himself if we could 
do no better. 

The people all along the route seemed to be very glad 


to see the cars running again, and to know the Rebel 
reign was over in Kentucky. 

"We reached the terminus of the running distance — 
Benson's Creek, where the first bridge was burned 
down — without accident or interruption. From that 
point we were compelled to walk, over a very rough 
road, more than nine miles in the burning sun, which 
was Summer-like in its heat in that latitude ; and at 
last we came in sight of Frankfort, and beheld our cav- 
alry on the heights about the place, having seen no 
bands of marauders, or guerrillas, except one fellow 
across the river, who was skulking behind trees and 
firing his rifle at those who passed within his range. 

Arriving in the city, we learned that it had been reoc- 
upied by the foe the night previous about an hour ; but 
that he had precipitately retreated before General Du- 
mont's advance. 

At the ' ' Governor' s ' ' inauguration in Frankfort, Oc- 
tober 4th, a number of good-looking and well-dressed 
women from Fayette, Woodford, and Scott counties were 
present, and caused more enthusiasm than the masculine 
traitors themselves. 

A number of the young and romantic women of Ken- 
tucky, present on the day of the pseudo-inauguration, 
strange to say, saw the Southern soldiers for the first 
time, and expressed themselves greatly disgusted with 
them. They were not at all what they had exj^ected. 
They had been told, and believed, that the Southern 
troops were composed of the true chivalry of the Cotton 
States ; of young men of birth, education, and fortune. 
They thought they were handsome fellows, who could 


talk Poetry and Sentiment to tliem ; wlio would walk 
with tliem tenderly by mooiiliglit alone, and kiss tkem 
sweetly and artistically under its rays. How terribly 
were tlie imaginative darlings disenchanted ! 

Were those ragged, soiled, and plebeian breasts the 
kind they were to lean upon, and to nestle their luxuri- 
ous tresses in 1 

Were those thin and pallid, or coarse and bloated lips, 
the ones they were to kiss 

"In ecstasy supreme and rhapsody divine"? 

Were those rough, harsh, vulgar voices the dulcet 
tones that were to tell them of Petrarch's love and 
Eloisa' s passion ? Alas ! JSTo ! Their dream was over. 

Secession was stripped of its meretricious tinsel, and the 
army of the South lost its attraction in the eyes of the 
romantic girls at a glance. They were cured — they were 
converted ; and many of them who, two weeks before, 
were the fairest and stanchest of Rebels, became the 
truest and most devoted of Unionists. They cleansed 
themselves from Secession in the pure stream of Nation- 
ality, and the aroma of Loyalty (to speak after the 
manner of Kentucky) added a new sweetness to the 
graceful motions of their fascinating forms. 

Strange as it may seem, the Rebels, when in Frank- 
fort, declared and believed they could not be driven from 
Kentucky ; that they would remain in the State as long 
as they desired, let the Yankees do what they could to 
dislodge them. "Governor" Hawes had made his 
arrangements to occupy the gubernatorial mansion, and 



the family of Governor Magoffin were preparing to leave 
the premises on his account. 

"Governor" Hawes's speech, read from manuscript, 
was a most lame and impotent effort. He is very old, 
has a cracked and unpleasant voice, and this, with his 
stammering, and hesitation, and nervousness, rendered 
his address painful to hear and ridiculous to rememher. 

Wlien the courier entered the Capital during the inau- 
gural ceremonies, and informed General Buckner of the 
apjoroach of Dumont's forces, and the intelligence was 
whispered around to the chief conspirators, the august 
assembly suddenly dispersed in great confusion. Rich- 
ard Hawes is said to have displayed the locomotive 
capacity of youth in his departure. JSTo one supposed a 
man in the vicinity of seventy could have manifested so 
much physical energy and vigor as he did on that memo- 
rable occasion. 

If the old gentleman could have run as well for, as he 
did from, the Governorship, he would have been Chief 
Executive of Kentucky many years ago. 

While the Rebels were in Frankfort, the people were 
cut off from all intelligence, and had no idea of what was 
going on around them. They saw no papers, not even 
those from Louisville, though the "Confederate" officers 
received them daily. They circulated and insisted upon 
the truth of the most absurd stories. McClellan was 
dead ; Washington and Baltimore had been captured ; 
Lincoln had fled to Philadelphia ; Louisville and Cincin- 
nati had been surrendered ; Union Commissioners had 
gone to Richmond under a flag of truce, to sue for peace, 
with kindred and equally improbable statements. 


So far did the Secessionists carry their system of de- 
ception and falsehood, that they caused a fictitious Lou- 
isville Journal to be printed at Lexington, and circulated 
among their troops and the citizens of that vicinity. This 
sham sheet was full of telegrams, letters, and editorials 
of the most startling character, all of which went to prove 
that the cause of the Union was utterly hopeless. 

Persons who saw the Lexington publication say it bore 

a striking resemblance to the Journal; that its type was 

similar ; many of the advertisements were the same ; and 

on the whole it was very well calculated to deceive 

casual readers. 


During the Bragg-Buell campaign in Kentucky, sev- 
eral of us Bohemians endeavored to procure horses in 
Louisville, and encountered many difficulties in so doing. 
Hiring a horse was impossible ; and buying any one 
that I had seen for sale in the city seemed a hazardous 
speculation, as none of them conveyed the impression 
that they would last till they got out of the lines. 

Their owners said they were not exactly "first-class 
animals ;' ' that they had a few slight ailments, such as 
spavin, stringhalt, botts, blind- staggers, scratches, ring- 
bone, and that, in some cases, they appeared addicted 
to stumbling over their own shadow ; and, indeed, to all 
manner of equine eccentricities — save the foible of run- 
ning away ; but that, with those exceptions, they were as 
good horses as could be found in Kentucky. 

One morning I chanced to discover a very good-look- 
ing horse of the gentler sex ; plump, round, and well 
conditioned, and had agreed to purchase her. Going to 


close the bargain in the afternoon, I learned, to mj cha- 
grin, that tlie poor creature had duplicated herself — a 
probability I had before suspected, and suggested to the 
jockey, who stoutly denied any such reflection on the 
animal' s character. 

Then, however, facts visible to the naked eye spoke 
for themselves. But the jockey insisted on his honesty, 
and vowed the case to be one of immaculate conception. 

B aying a horse at that time and place was a ponderous 
business — something approximating the superhuman. 

If Hercules had then attempted the purchase of a steed 
in Louisville, he would have failed. 

He could cleanse the Augean Stables, and slay the 
Lerngean Hydra ; but he would have found an equine 
expedition quite another affair. For four full days sev- 
eral of us Correspondents were engaged in the horse busi- 
ness, and we succeeded at last in purchasing them ; but 
that was not half the labor. 

We needed saddles, bridles, and other equipments. 
"VYe obtained them, and were on the eve of starting, 
when we discovered that our animals wanted shoeing. 
For fifteen hours the shoeing process went on, and then 
was not finished. During that period, the horses had 
broken their halters, gone lame, and become out of order 

Still, we did not despair. We hoped to get off during 
the Autumn — horses, saddles, shoes, blankets, Bohe- 
mians, and all. 

Several of our party had grown sick from delay, vexa- 
tion, and annoyance, and were unable to take the ride 
after the Kebels. 


Our steeds, I fancy, liad all the ills tliat horse-flesh has 
been heir to since the primeval steed was christened "by 
Father Adam. They were cheap animals — that is, we had 
not paid more than six times their value (and they were 
warranted sound for the price) — which guarantee meant 
that, if very tenderly treated, they would go a mUe a day 
and recover from the exertion. 

I was assured my horse was less than a hundred years 
old, and that he gave fair warning ^before he fell down. 
Who says he was not a good steed 1 

From his peculiar gait and idiosyncrasy of manner, I 
am led to believe he had served a long and faithful ap- 
prenticeship in a tread-mill, for he had a delightful 
habit of going round and round, in a manner exceedingly 
suggestive of that or some other kindred avocation. If 
my suspicions were baseless, and the Pythagorean doc- 
trine true, the soul of my horse must formerly have 
inhabited the body of a servant-girl addicted to wooden 
shoes and waltzing. 

All our horses were atrocious. Each one had his 
specific peculiarity ; but they all had one common ge- 
neric peculiarity — that of not being worth a d— n. 

No danger of those nags being seized by guerrillas, 

who would not have captured them if they had been 

paid for it. 

***** * * 

The battle-field of Perryville I visited a few days after 
the fight. It extends over a distance of ten miles, and 
its appearance at that time did not indicate a very fierce 
contest. The principal part of the fighting, however, 
was confined to an area of less than a mile square, and 


was marked by numerous graves of men wlio died tlie 
death of heroes, but have left no heroes' fame. 

The ground is rolling, somewhat similar to that of Wil- 
son' s Creek, though more favorable for a general engage- 
ment. Every few hundred yards there is rising ground ; 
and upon those swells different batteries were placed, 
giving free scope for mowing down the advancing col- 
umns of infantry. The severest struggle occurred in the 
open country, where there was little timber, though the 
small hills immediately adjacent were covered with sol- 
diers, who, at so short a range, did much execution with 
the musket. There could have been little advantage of 
ground, except that the Rebels had a creek and much 
broken land in their rear. 

The dead had all been buried ; and beyond the fresh 
heaps of earth, the fragments of clothing, and the car- 
casses of horses, there was nothing to tell the visitor of a 
general engagement. The appearance of the place indi- 
cated little more than a brisk skirmish. I have seen bat- 
tle-fields which gave more evidence of a fierce contest, 
months subsequent to the event, than Perryville did 
only a few days after the fight. 

The trees were rarely scarred, though here and there 
one saw a tall hickory from which the bark was ripped, 
or an oak whose branches had been cut ofi" by the shells 
and cannon-balls. The houses in the immediate neigh- 
borhood were struck frequently by the projectiles ; and 
even those in town were pierced by the artillery. 

When myself and companions visited the field, it 
looked as peaceful and pleasant as though no warrior s 
foot had ever pressed the undulating soil. The countiy 


surrounding is picturesque, and the landscape lay loathed 
and beautiful in the warm October sunshine. Silence 
reigned on the hill and in the valley, and the shrunken 
creek looked like one of those "rural scenes" artists 
represent contiguous to an idle and deserted mill, with 
cattle on the brink, lowing, with partially slaked thirst, 
to the sultry Summer. 

Tlie battle of Perry ville is one of the most inexplicable 
military events of the War, so far as our army is con- 
cerned. I have no disposition at " this late day to find 
fault with any one ; but the conduct of General Buell in 
permitting nearly, if not the whole, of Bragg' s forces to 
engage a portion of ours, and refusing to give our regi- 
ments, when they stood there burning to rush into the 
contest, permission to re-enforce their overpowered com- 
panions in arms, is to my mind, and to that of nearly 
every Union officer who was on that field, beyond the 
pmver of satisfactory explanation. 

Bragg' s army ought to, and could, have been almost 
anniliilated on that very spot. The opportunity was 
golden, and could not be regained. If ever there was a 
place where a skillful General would have desired to 
meet an opposing force — if ever there were circumstances 
that seemed to promise a crushing victory, that place was 
Perryville, and those circumstances the surroundings 
and situation and materiel and morale of our army. 

Buell and his friends have endeavored to give a solu- 
tion of the mystery of Perryville ; but they have only 
made the darkness deeper. I have never known so uni- 
versal an expression of disapprobation — to use a very 
mild term — of any General as there was of Buell on the 


part of liis army after that battle. I should not like to 
repeat the terms of opprobrium that were employed to- 
ward him ; but I must say that every one of his officers, 
from Generals to Second Lieutenants, and even the non- 
commissioned officers and privates, were so entirely dis- 
satisfied with him, after they had been compelled to give 
up tlie pursuit of the enemy, that it was deemed abso- 
lutely necessary, for the sake of subordination, to super- 
sede their commander-in-chief. 

-;<- -jt * % * -5^ * 

Lieutenant-Colonel James O. ISTixon, formerly editor 
and proprietor of the N'ew Orleans Crescent, was acting 
Colonel of Scott's Louisiana Cavalry during the cam- 
paign in Kentucky. Mxon has had some queer experi- 
ences, and not of the most agreeable character either. 
Eighteen months before, he was supposed to be worth 
five hundred thousand dollars ; was the principal pro- 
prietor of the Crescent, then a very valuable journal, and 
an owner of a great deal of real estate ; but when with 
Bragg, as he himself stated, he was not worth enough to 
buy a beggar' s coat. 

Mxon I very Avell remember in ISTew Orleans, some 
years ago, as a very pleasant, good-looking fellow, ex- 
ceedingly Avell dressed, and aftecting the elegant and lux- 
urious to a very large degree — a hoii nwant and fashion- 
able man of the world. 

The "Revolution" revolutionized him, certainly, and 
converted liim into a ragged, desperate Rebel, with a 
dead Past behind, and a dark Future before him. Still, 
when such men can endure what he endured for a bad 
cause, — and endure it too with patience and cheerfulness 


as lie did, — it speaks well for tlieir earnestness and tlieir 
inverted heroism. 

^ TT w TT w w vr 

If there was one man more detested and admired than 
another in Fayette County, Kentucky, in 1862, it was 
John H. Morgan, a former resident of Lexington. The 
Unionists hated him as they did his Satanic Majesty ; and 
the Secessionists were disposed to apotheosize him for 
what the Loyalists regarded as his villany. Morgan 
made his name a terror in Kentucky, and gained a wide- 
spread fame for daring, energy, and skill as a military 
leader, though he did very little to merit such a reputation. 

Beyond the commission of outrages on defenseless per- 
sons, and wholesale plunderiugs in unguarded neighbor- 
hoods, he performed few acts that should have entitled 
him to the consideration even of the "Confederates." 
He and his men knew how to steal good horses, and to 
procure fresh ones when the old ones were exhausted ; 
and by that means he was enabled to move rapidly from 
point to point to some undisturbed field of plunder. 
Deprived of that peculiar forte, he became notliing save 
John Morgan the sporting-man, an unprincipled and a 
common swaggerer. 

Morgan had some notoriety as a libertine, and is said 
to have cruelly wronged several poor and unbefriended 
girls in that vicinity ; which, perhaps, accounts for the 
worship rendered him by the feminine Rebels in Lexing-" 
ton during the hey-day of Secessionism in that State. 

It has been said that women love best the men who 
wrong them most, and Morgan appears to have been a 
shining verification of the aphorism. 


When the War Ibroke out, no woman who had any 
self-respect would liave suffered him to approach her — 
and yet, two years after, those who assumed to Ibe fine 
ladies crowned him witli garlands, and vied with each 
other for the honor of the attentions of a somewhat 
romantic ruffian and a common black-leg. 

Secession makes wonderful revolutions in petticoats. 
Feminine voices, modulated to sweetness by culture and 
refinement, proclaimed him hero, whom — a little while 
before — to have recognized would have been degrada- 

So much for Success! It is the world's fascinater, 
and the bender of unwilling knees. 




The Expedition up the Yazoo. — Unexpected fleeting of the Eebel Monster. — 
Her Engagement "with the Union Vessels. — Their Discomfiture and Eetreat. — 
Her Passage of the Union Flotilla. — ^Her Exposure to a Terrible Fire. — ^Ex- 
plosion on Board the Lancaster. — Casualties on both Sides. — ^Bohemian Ee- 
flections on Eunning Batteries, 

At the commencemeiit of the siege of Ticksburg, in 
July, 1862, the famous Rebel ram and gunboat Arkan- 
sas ran do"\Yn the Yazoo into the Mississippi, and by the 
entire Union FlotiUa. Her intention was to descend the 
river by night, but she was unavoidably delayed. Her 
officers had, of course, been fully informed by spies and 
scouts of the situation of Farragut' s and Davis' s vessels, 
and of the fact that they did not have up steam, on ac- 
count of the sickness on the Fleet and the excessive heat 
of the weather. 

The famous and formidable gunboat Arkansas, of 
which the enemy had been boasting for months, which 
was run off from Memphis in an unfinished state and 
towed up the Yazoo, was discovered by us on the loth 
of July — if not to our sorrow, at least to our intense mor- 

The Arkansas was no myth, as many had begun to 
believe : her strength and power of resistance were no 


idle boast. She did tlie tilings of wliich tlie foe affirmed 
her capable. She surely bearded the lion in his den — 
the Douglas in his hall. 

Think of her — with twelve guns, running the block- 
ade of fourteen or fifteen vessels of war and several 
armed Tams, with more than twice an hundred guns ! 
Was it not delightfully, refreshingly daring ? 

The powder gunboat Tyler, Captain AVilliam Gwin, 
and the steam ram Queen of the West, Captain Joseph 
Ford, started at five o' clock in the morning on a recon- 
noissance up the Yazoo, designing to go as far as Liver- 
pool Landing, sixty-five miles from the mouth, to deter- 
mine the character of the Rebel defenses there, and learn, 
if possible, something of the condition of the far-famed 
Arkansas, claimed by many to be equal in impenetrabil- 
ity to the world-renowned Merrimac. Another Corre- 
spondent and myself had made arrangements to go on the 
expedition, but were a few seconds too late ; the vessels 
having started half an hour before the appointed time. 

From tlie best information we had been able to gather 
on the Fleet, it was believed that the Rebel gunboat was 
still unfinished, and lying aground in the Yazoo above 
the blockade, with no probability of making her appear- 
ance during the War. 

The Carondelet, Captain Henry Walke, accompanied 
the gunboat and ram as far as the mouth of Yazoo River, 
and then took her position, while her two companions 
ascended the stream. The latter had not gone more than 
six miles before they discovered a strange-looking craft 
descending, which they could not make out. It was 
thought she must be a tug ; but surely there never was 


such a queer tug before. Her appearance was anoma- 
lous, and glasses were directed toward lier with little 
advantage. She was moving rapidl}^ down, and the 
conclusion was reached that she must be the Arkansas — 
she could be nothing else. 

After that little speculation, the stranger was within a 
hundred and fifty yards of the Tyler, and that there 
might be no doubt of her intentions and character, she 
tired a large gun at the gunboat, but did not strike her. 
The Tyler fired in return, and was rounding to, to give a 
broadside to the enemy, but could not do so for lack of 
time. The foe was almost at her stern, and discharged 
two of her guns with their muzzles almost resting against 
the Union vessel's side. The Tyler backed for a little 
distance and fired several times, giving herself full leis- 
ure and opportunity to perceive her antagonist was a 
powerful iron-clad ship that could every way over- 
match her. 

There was no hope of success in such an unequal 
struggle, and Captain Gwin, a most gallant ofiicer, whose 
valor and patriotism had been proved by the severest 
tests, concluded to save his men, if possible, by out-run- 
ning the Arkansas. 

The Tyler's bow was soon down stream, and the 
Arkansas very little behind her, firing rapidly, and the 
pursued replying with her stern-guns coolly and regu- 
larly. The Tyler's shot seemed to have little, if any, 
effect upon the Rebel, while the latter' s fire was often 
destructive, entering the Unionist's sides, and piercing 
her timbers, and sending showers of splinters over her. 


Before tlie Tyler had reached tlie mouth of Yazoo 
River, eight of her men were killed, and seventeen 
wounded. Five of the sailors' heads were shot entirely 
off by a single ball from the enemy, and the unfortunate 
fellows fell together — a bloody, deformed, and hideous 
mass of quivering death. ~ 

The Queen of the West, seeing the Tyler turn from her 
enemy, and observing that the Rebel was a powerful 
ram as well as gunboat, knew it would be useless to 
attempt to butt her adversary. Besides, as she was 
under the command of the gunboat, and saw her consort 
avoiding the action, she thought it proper to imitate her 

The Arkansas had an immense wrought-iron prow or 
beak, weighing several tons — before which the little 
wooden ram could have offered no more resistance than 
a paper boat. 

The Tyler and Queen passed rapidly out of the Yazoo 
River, to give the fleet in the Mississippi warning of the 
approach of the Arkansas ; but as soon as they appeared 
above the bend the cause of their early return was sus- 
pected. The heavy firing had been heard for an hour, 
and as it grew louder and louder, it was evident that our 
vessels must have met a formidable and powerful foe. 

The Carondelet, Captain Henry Walke, saw and knew 
her antagonist at once, but determined to give her battle, 
and she did so in the most gallant style. 

The Union vessel sent several shots against the mailed 
sides of her foe as she advanced, but did her no appa- 
rent harm. The Arkansas answered with lieav}^ and 
metallic voice, and her responses told fearfully on the 



valiant craft, wliose officers, however, were notMng 
daunted by their powerful antagonist. 

Before the third Rebel shot, a number of the crew were 
killed and wounded on the Carondelet, which, during a 
spirited engagement of ten minutes, lost nine men in 
killed, and twenty-two wounded, and three missing. 
One of the hostile shots severed some part of her ma- 
chinery, and, causing the steam to escape, so alarmed a 
portion of the crew, that they jumped overboard, to 
avoid, as they supposed, being scalded to death. 

As soon as Captain Walke perceived he could not in- 
jure the Arkansas with his guns, he resolved to board 
her, and gave the order, which hardly passed his lips, 
when the Unionist ran along aside, and a brave band 
leaped on the narrow deck of the enemy. 

But every thing was iron-proof, and tightly closed. 
Only the ports and loop-holes were open for the sharp- 
shooters. After endeavoring in vain to get inside the 
Arkansas, for some minutes, the seamen were forced to 
return, dispirited and chagrined, to their own boat. 

A few more shots were exchanged ; when the Arkansas 
made off, and hastened so rapidly down the river, that 
the Carondelet, in her crippled condition, could not fol- 
low her. 

Very soon after, the dangerous enemy was seen coming 
with diminished speed towards the Fleet ; very few of the 
vessels having steam up, and the rams themselves carry- 
ing little more than enough to make head against the cur- 
rent. Every officer on the Flotilla was anxious to see if the 
Arkansas would have the temerity to attempt running 
by the entire cordon of Union ships. She left them little 

218 rOUE YEAES m secessia. 

time to doubt. She moved on in a measured and deliber- 
ate manner, and in a direct line. 

As she passed the rams, the Lancaster, with only sixty 
pounds of steam, attempted to butt her ; but, before she 
could place herself in position to do so, the Arkansas 
fii-ed several times into her side, wounding several of the 
ram' s crew, and exploded her mud-receiver. 

The steam poured out all over the Lancaster, and it 
was thought her boiler had exploded, especially as she 
began drifting down the river. Several tugs and trans- 
ports went to her assistance, and towed her up stream, 
when it was discovered that two of her negro deck hands 
had been killed, six of the men scalded, and two or three 
were missing ; the last having been drowned by leaping 

The Arkansas continued her course by the Hartford 
and Richmond, neither of which gave her a broadside, 
though they fired at her repeatedly ; passed the Oneida, 
Loquois, Wissahickon, Cincinnati, Sumter, Bragg, Essex, 
Benton, and all the rest. They all fired at her when she 
was above, as she went down, and when she was below ; 
but, though heavy shot often struck her, they did not 
seem to injure her.- Now she had run the gantlet, and 
was seen turning the bend ; and soon after she passed 
under the guns of the water-batteries at Vicksburg, 
reposing under the shade of the laurels she had so nobly 
won, and welcomed by every true Rebel heart in the 
Eebel stronghold. 

The Cincinnati and the Benton in fifteen minutes got 
up more steam, and ran down the river, again opening 
their guns upon the batteries and the Ai'kansas, both of 


which replied vigorously. The Benton steamed immedi- 
ately nnder the enemy' s guns, and was struck a number 
of times, three of the shots passing into and through her. 
One of her crew had his head and a part of his body shot 
off while holding the end of a lanyard, and two others 
were so dangerously wounded, that the surgeon had little 
hope of their recovery. 

The Benton was damaged, but not materially. A num- 
ber of the rooms on her gun-deck were completely riddled, 
and a one hundred and twenty-eight pound shot passed 
into her port quarter through the Third Master's room, 
and then through the culinary department, and finally into 
the Commodore's cabin, where, after destroying a good 
deal of furniture, it very pacifically went to bed, and lay 
upon the pillow on which, two hours before, the Flag- 
officer had been peacefully reposing. 

Whether the Arkansas was injured or not during the 
fight was then a matter of conjecture ; but, since then, I 
have seen the report of Lieutenant Isaac N. Brown, com- 
manding the vessel, which states that she was badly cut 
up, her smoke-stack and pilot-house destroyed, and her 
armor frequently perforated. Ten of her crew were killed 
outright, and eighteen men, including three of her officers, 
were wounded. Those who ran the gantlet suffered fear- 
fully from heat and want of air. Lieutenant Brown, who 
has the reputation of a very daring, and even reckless 
man, is reported to have said that no consideration under 
Heaven would have induced him to try the terrible expe- 
riment again. 

* * -Jt -5^ * * * 

Speaking of defying guns and fleets prompts me to* 

. 15 


give here, though somewhat out of place, the sensations 
one experiences in scenes of peril such as running bat- 
teries, in which interesting experiments I have had my 
share of experience on the Mississippi, and by which, 
some months before my capture, I had the honor, through 
a very genteel wound, to lose exactly fourteen drops of 
my sanguineous fluid. 

That the sensation is pleasurable in itself, I do not 
believe ; but that it is somewhat exciting and rather pe- 
culiar, those who have tried it will generally admit. The 
fact that it is dangerous usually attracts, and the chance 
of its resulting in your quietus, removes it from the class 
of vulgar sensations., 

Most men feel their greatest uneasiness before the bat- 
teries they expect to pass have opened fire, because un- 
certainty and anxious expectation are severer tests of the 
nerves than any tangible reality, however horrible. 

Few cultivated mortals, possessed of sensibility and 
imagination, but are capable of fear, though they may 
not reveal it. They have a natural horror of pain and 
peril, and yet they possess, in most cases, pride and wiU 
enough to overcome the weaknesses of instinct. 

They are not brave, but they may be courageous, and 
are so usually, when experience has enabled them to cal- 
culate probabilities, and taught them a half indifference 
to what they have often escaped without harm. 

When a man is under the fire of batteries in an un- 
armed vessel, and hears the crash of timber, or the ex- 
plosion of a shell overhead, or the roar of a round shot as 
it passes not far from him, he begins to think he has been 
in more agreeable places, and contrast suggests quiet and 


pacific scenes, where gunpowder is not burned, and the 
trade of the undertaker is not coerced into unnatural ani- 

If he sees a poor fellow stricken down or disemboweled 
at his side, or the groan of a dying unfortunate reaches 
his keenly sensitive ear, he can hardly resist a shudder, 
and wonders when his own turn will come. 

But it does not come, and as the long minutes pass, 
he begins to believe it will not, though the shot plunge 
about the boat as before. At first he was alarmed ; then 
he grew desperate. 

Now he is rising into coolness, and becomes capable 
of reasoning upon his situation, which seems far less per- 
ilous than it did. 

Perhaps at no time did the apprehension of death dis- 
turb him so much as that of a dreadful wound which 
would cause intense suffering. 

If a man in the midst of battle could be certain that the 
shot which would reach him would prove instantaneously 
fatal, he would be calmer than he is ; for the idea of pain, 
to a sensitive nature, is more cruel than death. 

To a philosophic mind, and one capable of making its 
philosophy practical, death must not only be, but must 
seein, unavoidable — something which, if escaped to-day, 
will come to-morrow. 

No human ..power can avoid the dread necessity. No- 
thing is certain on this Planet save death ; and who can 
say it is better to perish this year or the next, in youth or 
old age ? 

Most mortals are as well prepared, to use an orthodox 
phrase, of very unsatisfactory significance, to quit the 


world at one time as another. In fact, tliey are never 
ready to go. There is always sometliing left undone — a 
little delay is ever desirable. 

The business of existence is rarely closed up so that a 
balance-sheet may be struck between the known and the 

Once life is snuffed out like a candle, there is no more 
dying, according to the popular belief (though we have 
no more reason to think this than that we never lived be- 
fore we entered the World), and that ought to be a 
species of melancholy satisfaction. 

IS'o one can unravel the future, whether it be for good 
or evil, happiness or misery. What is to be will be ; 
albeit the trouble is to determine how much we are the 
subjects of free will and how much of fate. 

This sounds very speculative for a brain passing bat- 
teries ; but the active mind will so think, though it were 
far better not to reason at all under such circumstances. 

With the beginning of action, all thought, except that 
conducive to action, should subside. Then there is 
no introspection, no anticipation of unseen things, no 
hightening of peril, no illusion of pain. 

But every thing terminates, and you get out of the bat- 
teries' range, and a new sensation fills you. 

You feel more comfortable, and you marvel you were 
not more uneasy than you were, and at the same moment 
wonder your pulse was quicker than when sipping 
Chateau Margaux at an elaborate dinner. 

How much more peril you saw than there was ! How 
many more wounds and deaths were in your mind than 
in the assignment of Fortune ! 


You do not know whether you are more like a timid 
child or a hero after your experience, and you conclude, 
subsequently, that you little resemble either ; that men 
are very uncertain animals, touching Heaven and Earth 
at the same time, and vibrating ever between Achilles 
and Thersites — the angel and the clay. 

It is ditficult to calculate upon a man' s courage, as it is 

The boldest may be frightened at a shadow. 

We cease to love ourselves when we comprehend our- 
selves ; and yet we may perceive good enough within to 
engender contempt for others. 

The philosophic life is but a series of experiments upon 
ourselves, and though we learn much therefrom, the last 
analysis brings nothing positive, nothing absolute ; and 
we are still but an atom in the sunbeam, a sand-grain on 
the sea- shore. 

Whether we run batteries or stop bullets, make poems 
or statues, lead armies or live in solitude, obtain fame 
or dwell unknown in the by-paths, all experience is un- 
satisfactory, all possessions are poor, all honor worthless. 

We are ever drawn by the Ideal, and deceived by the 

The blossom withers while we hold it : Love dies in 
our first embrace : the Future, to which we aU stretch 
out our longing arms, has no existence. And yet what is 
to be will be ! 

But where is the subtle magician of the mind who can 
reveal to us the purposes of Fate, or illumine for a moment 
the darkness that must ever surround the Sphere ? 

224: ' rouE YEAES m secessia. 



Expedition in Search of Cotton, Cattle, and Guerrillas. — Plantations along the 
Mississippi. — Anxiety of the Negroes for Freedom. — Sad Scenes on Shore. — 
An African Andromache. — A Miscegenated Southern Family. 

DuEiNG tlie latter part of the siege of Yicksburg, under 
General Grant, in Marcli, 1863, two or three of the Bohe- 
mians, seeing no prospect of any immediate activity in 
that vicinity, joined a foraging expedition up the river in 
quest of any adventures that might result from the trip. 
Consequently, we steamed up and down the Father of 
Waters, and wandered through Louisiana, Mississippi, 
and Arkansas, looking out for cotton, cattle, and guerrillas. 

Among other places, we touched at the American Bend, 
in Washington County, Mississippi. 

The principal plantations there were owned by Dr. 
Wm. W. Worthington and his brotlier Samuel, both ad- 
vanced in years, and having four sons in the insurgent 
army. They were very wealthy before the Rebellion, 
owning tliree plantations each, and some two or three 
hundred negroes, many of whom had been taken back 
into the swamps and to Texas. 

The private residences and grounds of the brothers 
Worthington were far superior to those one usually sees 


in the South.. They made some assumption to comeliness 
as well as comfort, and were on the whole rather pleas- 
ant, which must he attributed to the fact of their owners 
coining from Kentucky, which has "been largely influenced 
hy the spirit and enterprise of the IN'orth. 

While at the Bend I had frequent talks with the con- 
trabands, and found them without exception most anxious 
for freedom. They were willing to run any risks almost, 
provided they could have any assurance of escaping 
bondage. They manifested the utmost aversion to 
slavery, and declared they would rather be free, if they 
had to toil harder and live upon the merest pittance in 
the JSTorth, than be idle and live in comfort in the South. 

An elderly negress, Harriet Garratt, told me a sad 
story, which, though by no means novel, will, I think, 
bear repetition, and which I know to be true, from the 
names of persons, and from circumstances she mentioned 
in Kentucky, where I was quite well acquainted. She 
belonged to a young woman residing in Mason county, 
Kentucky, and after her mistress's marriage, was taken 
to Cincinnati, and there manumitted. Harriet, hearing 
soon after that her husband was to be sent to Mississippi, 
determined to follow him, and accordingly accompanied 
him, with her free papers on her person. 

Arrived there, a slave-dealer, one Hines, in whose 
keeping she and her husband, with other negroes, were, 
discovered and destroyed her papers, and sold her to Dr. 
Worthington, from which time she worked in the cotton- 

Harriet was very desirous of going ISTorth, and her eyes 
moistened at the mere idea, though she had long ceased, 


she said, to hope for the freedom of which she had been 
so "basely defrauded. Her tale interested my Bohemian 
companion and myself, and we made an arrangement with 
the captain of one of the transports to take her and her 
youngest daughter — she had three — as washerwomen. 

The next morning we visited the sable auntie, and com- 
municated the intelligence to her. She received it with 
delight, but with conflicting emotions. Her eyes filled 
with tears ; her bosom heaved ; she spoke with difiiculty. 
Had her nerves been more delicate she would have 
fainted ; but swooning is a pretty trick the unenlightened 
daughters of Africa have not yet learned. At first she 
poured out her heart in gratitude. She would go at 
once ; asked us a hundred questions in as many seconds ; 
told her daughter, who stood near, to make preparations 
for their departure, and was tremalous with excitement, 
laughing and weeping hysterically by turns. 

In a few minutes, however, a new idea seemed to enter 
the old woman' s mind, and a shadow fell upon her face 
that was visible even through her sable skin. Her hus- 
band and her other two daughters, whom she had forgot- 
ten in the first ebullition of her feelings, had occurred to 
her. ' ' I cannot leab de ole man and dem ere childern, 
my good massas. Dey would grieb demselves to deif, 
suah. I couldn't hab any joy in de dear old Norf when 
I knowed my ole man and de gals was down heali in 
Dixie workin' in de cotton wid de hard lashes on deir 
back. O no ! Gawd bress you bofe for your kindness to 
ole auntie ; but I couldn't do it. I nevali feel right in 
my heart if I did." And the old slave was silent, for her 
voice was choked with tears, and her frame trembled with 


Many other negroes of Ibotla sexes stood near, as we 
were at the slave quarters, and though they did not hear 
what was said, tliey felt what was passing, and looked 
on in silence and in sympathy. 

It was a touching scene — that struggle between love 
and the desire for freedom, hoth so natural, and yet so 
opposed — the yielding to one destroying the hope of the 

Most gladly would we have furnished to auntie and 
her whole family the means of going North ; but we could 
not. We had no power. We had done all we could ; 
and so we told her. " I knows dat, my young massas," 
she sobbed out. " You's bery good. I'se bery tankful. 
God bress you !" 

I lay no claim to religion, as it is usually understood, 
and see little meaning in theological terminology ; but 
there was an earnestness in the woman' s benediction that 
was not without its impressiveness. 

Many a time I have heard " God bless you !" which 

" By daily use hath ahnost lost its sense," 

and from lips that were fresh with youth and rosy with 
beauty ; but the celestial invocation, I am sure, never 
came from a more grateful heart, or fell from a tongue, 
albeit uneducated, more sincere in its impassioned ut- 

When the devotion of this poor ignorant negress to her 
husband and children was made so pathetically manifest, 
I could not help but contrast it with the connubial and 
maternal feeling of many of the fair daughters of Fortune, 
the darling favorites of Society, who lounge on satin sofas, 


or tread witli dainty feet tlie luxurious boudoirs of Fifth 

Avenue or Madison Square. 

-V: % ^ * ^ ^ 

Finding it very difficult to obtain cattle at the American 
Bend, we returned below to Sunny-side Landing, Arkan- 
sas, hoping to have our quest there rewarded. At that place, 
very near the IN'orthern Louisiana line, was the plantation 
of a third brother of the Worthingtons I have mentioned. 
His name was Elisha, and he had never been married, 
though he had availed himself of the recognized succeda- 
neum of the South, having, many years before, taken as 
his mistress the daughter of a Choctaw Indian and a ne- 
gress, and admitted her to all the privileges and advan- 
tages supposed to belong to the uxorial state. 

That gentleman of rare taste and choice morals had two 
children — a son and daughter— probably eighteen and 
seventeen years old, whom he educated in Ohio, and sent 
to Europe, but who still bore the appearance and some- 
thing of the manners of the native African. They lived 
in their father's mansion, one of the most comfortable I 
have seen in Arkansas, keeping house for him during his 
absence in Texas, whither he went last June, after the 
fall of Memphis. He was a notorious Rebel, and fled 
from what he believed to be the Yankee wrath, knowing, 
no doubt, far better than we, how well he deserved 




Eeflections on our Eeturn to Freedom. — The Effect of Imprisonment. — Eapidity 
of Kestoration to One's Normal Condition. — Running the Batteries of Yicks- 
burg. — Incidents of tlie Undertaking. — Terrible Fire from the Rebel Strong- 
hold. — Complete Wreck of our Expedition. — BrUhant Prospects for Dying. — 
Adventures of the Bohemians. — Grotesque Appearance of the Prisoners. 

Not many weeks ago, wlieii tlie author dwelt in the 
midst of Filth and Misery, Des]3air and Death ; when 
those had been his constant companions for long and 
wearisome months, and dreary seasons that knew no 
change ; it seemed as if no other than a prison-life had 
heen his — that Freedom, Beauty, Abundance, Pleasure, 
were mere ideals of an aspiring soul, and had only shone 
upon the soft landscape of his dearest dreams. 

Even so does the Past now shrink before the Present. 
The by-gone horrors appear phantasms of the brain amid 
the comforts and the luxuries of metropolitan life. 

As I peer out of the window at the vast and varied 
human tides of Broadway, and hear the hum and roar 
of its mighty throng, and the heavy peals of the passing 
hours from the City-Hall clock, the intermediate space 
between two periods of liberty is stricken out. 

The years before and since the "War come together like 
the shifted scenes of the theater, shutting from view a 
dark dungeon and its darker recollections. 


As freedom and civilization were once too good, so 
rebel prisons and their painful associations are now too 
hideous, to be believed. The existing sensation is the 
measure of the mind, which realizes with difficulty a past 
consciousness of opposite impressions. 

"How happy you must be !" has often been my greet- 
ing since my arrival within our lines ; and the expression 
is very natural. 

If a man who has been a prisoner in the hands of the 
enemy for a long while could only preserve the remem- 
brance of his surroundings as a criterion for the future, 
his restoration to freedom would be a return to paradise. 

But the truth is, the man changes with his situation. 

He glides so easily and readily into his normal status 
that the abnormal seems at once insupportable. 

Therefore, the Fifth Avenue, the Central Park, the 
Academy of Music, Beauty, Banquets, Diamonds, have 
no special charm. They are the things of course, the 
every-day garniture of civilized existence. 

But the retrospect of not many weeks makes us shud- 
der, and wonder at what now appears an impossible 

Walked I ever amid those pestilential scenes un- 
moved? Stood I ever, calm and steady- voiced, beside 
all those suffering forms? Bore I ever those heavy 
burdens, physical and spiritual, so long, without faint- 
ing or perishing on the weary way ? 

We know not what we can endure, is as true as truth, 
and is no oftener considered than by the poor wretch 
whom the fortunes of war have consigned to a Southern 
prison. He finds, after months have passed, that he is 


still aliye and sane, in spite of starvation, freezing, 
tyranny, and isolation, and believes himself of iron mold. 

The scene changes, and liberty and kind fortune dawn 
upon him. Then he looks behind, as the traveler who 
has passed the brink of a precipice in the darkness, and 
shudders while he thinks how narrow has been his es- 
cape ; how horrible would have been his death. 

A few months since I would have relished the coarsest 
food, and deemed it delightful to dwell in the meanest 
hut. Now — so soon does man grow pampered in 
places of purple — the choicest viands tempt me all in 
vain, and I toss with restlessness upon the softest couch. 

An age ago it seems, and yet the almanac tells me it 
was on the night of May 3d, 1863, since my confrere, Mr. 
Albert D. Richardson, and Mr. Richard T. Colburn of 
the World newspaper, with some thirty-two others, left 
the head-quarters of General Grant at Milliken's Bend, 
Louisiana, to run the batteries of Yicksburg, Warrenton, 
and Grand Gulf, where hostilities had already begun. 

I had tried to run the batteries of Yicksburg before ; 
but circumstances interfered ; and, as the Calvinists 
would say, I was pre-ordained. 

The expedition, — consisting of a steam-tug, the Sturges, 
and two barges loaded with provisions and bales of hay, — 
was very badly fitted out ; the hay lying loosely about, 
where any bursting shell might ignite it, and neither 
buckets, in the very probable event of a conflagration, 
nor small boats as a means of escape, having been provided. 

In addition to this, the moon was at its full, whereas 
the other battery-running expeditions had gone down on 
dark nights ; and, about the time we reached the point of 


danger, was in the zenitli of the heavens. The night was 
as light as day. 

As we sat smoking our cigars on the barges, we could 
see every tree on the hanks of the mighty river ; and as 
we neared the peninsula opposite Vickshurg, we could 
observe the different streets and buildings of the city that 
had so long defied the combined power of our army and 

An officer with us had a bottle of Catawba, and as 
there was some probability that, in the storm of shot and 
shell which awaited us, its flavor might be damaged, we 
quaffed its contents to the speedy downfall of the hostile 
stronghold, and the early suppression of the Rebellion ; 
to the women we loved — dwellers in the region of the 
Infinite — and to the consolation of the unfortunately mar- 
ried — surely a generous sentiment in favor of an ample 

Ours was indeed a merry party ; and long shall I remem- 
ber the agreeableness of the occasion before Rebel gun- 
powder interfered with its hannony. 

We smoked, and laughed, and jested, and chatted, say- 
ing if that was to be our last appearance on any (earthly) 
stage, that we would remember it mth pleasure when 
we obtained a new engagement — on some celestial news- 

There seemed no anxiety among our little band. 

They had all volunteered, and were desirous of an ad- 
venture, which they had in extenso. 

As we neared the hostile stronghold, we lighted fresh 
cigars ; destroyed our private correspondence ; settled 
our affairs, in the event of accident, after the Bohemian 


fasMon ; and ■would have commended onr souls to our 
creditors, if we liad known we had any — i. e., either the 
one or the other — and our iDodies to the classic process of 

The incremation process was a flight of romance. We 
knew, if lost in the Mississippi, "we would furnish cold 
collations for catfish. 

About midnight, or a little after, we were within a mile 
and a half of Yicksburg by the bend of the river, but not 
more than a quarter of that distance in a direct line, and 
directly in range of the heavy batteries planted for sev- 
eral miles above, below, and in front of the town. 

We were moving very little faster than the current of 
the stream ; and as we began to round the peninsula, the 
trees on which had all been cut down, to give the enemy 
an open space for the operation of his guns against ap- 
proaching vessels, the Rebel pickets, who had most need- 
lessly and very unwisely been permitted to cross the 
river and take position on the Louisiana shore, gave the 
alarm by discharging their muskets at us — without detri- 
ment, however — followed by a signal-rocket from the 
city, and the opening of the fiery entertainment to which 
we had invited ourselves on that bright, soft, delicious 
night of May. 

N'ow the heavy guns opened with their thunderous 
roar, ahd the first struck one of the barges, as we knew 
from the jar of the boat. " Well done for the Rebels," 
said we, admiring accuracy of aim even in our foes. 

The truth was, the insurgents had, from various 
causes, never had a fair opportunity on the previous 
expeditions. The night had been dark ; the artillery- 


men had not been on the alert ; the guns had not been 
well trained ; the fuses had been defective. 

That time, as we subsequently learned, the Rebels 
were well prepared. They had, from past experience, 
obtained the exact range, and felt confident of blowing 
any craft that made the venture out of the water. Cer- 
tainly they made a good beginning, and we a bad end 
of it. 

The round-shot howled, and the shells shrieked over 
our heads, and sometimes cut the straw of the hay-bales 
in a manner calculated to give any one not entirely blase 
something of a sensation. 

We tried to count the shots, but they were so rapid as ■ 
to defy our power of enumeration. I had witnessed a 
number of heavy bombardments during the War, but had 
hardly known more gunpowder to be burnt in the same 
space of time. 

All along the shore we saw the flashes of the guns. 

The fire seemed to leap out of the strong earthworks 
for at least a mile, and the bright and quiet stars ap- 
peared to tremble before the bellowing of the scores of 

Clouds of smoke rose along the river like a dense fog, 
and the water and the atmosphere shook with reverbera- 

Opposite Yicksburg the Mississippi is narrow and 
deep, and at the same time was rather low, so that at 
times we were not more than three or four hundred 
yards from the ten-inch guns. 

It did seem strange our frail vessels, which were struck 
again and again, were not blown to pieces. But the little 


tug — semi-occasionally we heard its quick, sharp puff — 
passed on and we were jet unharmed. 

We had now passed the hend of the river just albove 
the city, where a sand-bar, on which we had "been told 
we would probably strike and ground, was plainly visi- 
ble, and the greatest danger was over. 

Still we moved on, and the Rebels, as if disappointed 
and enraged, seemed to augment their efforts. 

Faster and heavier the batteries thundered, and louder 
howled the shot and shrieked the shell above, below, 

Again and again the shells burst over head, and the 
iron fragments fell about the little crew ; but no groans 
nor cries were heard. We seemed fated to run the 
gantlet in safety, — to go beyond the power of harm. 

For three-quarters of an hour we were under the 
terrible tire, and were near the lower end of the city. 

Another quarter would put us out of danger, for we 
. had passed the heaviest batteries. 

Still the guns opposite, from above and below, belched 
forth their iron messengers of death ; and the stars 
blinked, and the waters shook, and the sulphurous 
mist crept like a troop of phantoms along the turbid 

Every moment we thought a shot might wreck our 
expedition ; but in the occasional pause of the artillery, 
as I have said before, we could detect the rapid puff, 
puff, puff of the little tug, which was the sure sign that 
we still floated. 

Suddenly a huge crash by our side, of wood and iron. 
A deep and heavy and peculiar report. A rush of steam, 



and a descending sliower of cinders and aslies that 
covered our persons. 

We heard the puff of the tug no more ; but in its place 
went up a wild yell which we had often heard in the 
front of battle — shrill, exultant, savage ; so different from 
the deep, manly, generous shout of the Union soldiers, . 
that we knew at once it was the triumphant acclamation 
of our cruel foe. 

The boiler of the tug had been exploded by a plunging 
shot from one of the upper batteries. The shot was acci- 
dental, but extremely effective. It wrecked our expedi- 
tion at once. After passing through the boiler, the sheU. 
exploded in the furnaces, throwing the fires upon the 
barges and igniting the loose hay immediately. 

" The' play is over," said Richardson ; " Hand in your 
checks, boys," exclaimed Colburn; "A change of base 
for the Bohemians," remarked the undersigned ; and we 
glanced around, and heard the groans and sharp cries of 
the wounded and the scalded. 

We rushed forward to try and trample out the flames, 
but they rose behind us like fiery serpents, and -paled the 
full-orbed moon, and lit up the dark waters of the Sty- 
gian river far and near. 

The Rebels, who had ceased firing for a moment, now 
bent themselves to their guns once more, and the iron 
missiles swept over and around us, and several of the 
soldiers on board were wounded by fragments of burst- 
ing shells. 

Every one was now bent on saving himself. A few 
of the privates and some of the tug's crew plunged 
madly overboard, with fragments of the wreck in their 


hands, and in three minutes none but the wounded and 
the journalistic trio remained on the burning barges. 

We threw the bales of hay into the river for the benefit 
of the wounded and those who could not swim — for we 
had early learned Leander' s art — and then arranged our 
own programme. 

■Richardson went off first on a bale of hay, from wliich 
a large round-shot, passing near, and dashing a column 
of spray into the air just beyond him, soon displaced his 

Colburn followed ; and I, seeing my field of operations 
hemmed in by rapidly advancing fire, answered his sum- 
mons, and dived, after divesting myself of all superflu- 
ous clothing, into the aqueous embrace of the Father 
of Waters. 

Several bales of hay were floating below, but I swam 
to the one nearest Colburn, and there we concluded to 
get beyond the town and pickets, and then, striking out 
for the Louisiana shore, make our way as best we could 
back to the army. 

The Rebels had .then ceased firing — certainly not for 
humanity' s sake, we thought — and the reason was patent 
when we heard the sound of row-locks across the water. 

The chivalrous whippers of women were evidently 
coming to capture us. 

My companion and myself believed if we kept very 
quiet, and floated with our faces only out of the water, 
we would not be discovered. 

A yawl full of armed men passed near us, and we fan- 
cied we Avould escape. Like the so-called "Confed- 
eracy," we wanted to be let alone. 


Just as we were internally congratulating ourselves, a 
small boat darted round the corner of the burning barge, 
and we were hauled in by a couple of stalwart fellows, 
after the manner of colossal catfish, without even the 
asking of our leave. 

In fifteen minutes we were under guard on shore, 
where we found our collaborateur Richardson safe and 

About half our small crew had been killed and 
wounded, and the rest were prisoners. 

More unlucky than the defenders of Thermopylae — one 
of them reached Sparta to bear the tidings — not one of 
us returned to tell the story. 

We were all reported lost, we learned afterward ; 
though Gfeneral Sherman's humorous comment, when 
apprised that three of the Bohemians had been killed— 
"That's good! We'll have dispatches now from hell 
before breakfast" — did not prove a veracious prediction. 

The gifted Gfeneral' s mistake arose from his confused 

The army correspondents do not usually date their dis- 
patches at his head-quarters. 

The Bohemians lost all their baggage ; and I, having 
prepared myself for Byronic exercise, went ashore with 
nothing on but shirt and pantaloons. 

Barefooted was I also, and I appeared most forlorn as I 
walked in company with the others through the moonlit 
streets of the town. 

A sudden metamorphosis was ours, from freedom to 
captivity ; and we discovered by crossing the river 
we had reached another phase of civilization. 


We prisoners formed a sad and droll procession, as we 
moved across the bayou towards the town. 

A number of the captives were either wounded with 
fragments of shell or scalded by the steam, and groaned 
and wailed piteously as we walked along ; while others, 
barefooted, bareheaded, coatless, and begrimed with cin- 
ders and ashes, looked like Charon' s ferrymen on a strike 
for higher wages. 

The author bore a close resemblance to old Time with- 
out his scythe, endeavoring to rejuvenate himself by 
hydropathic treatment. 

All of us, save the poor fellows who had been wound- 
ed and scalded, were in the best of spirits ; and we 
marched merrily through the streets, chatting and laugh- 
ing at our mishap — which proved a farce, so far as we 
the unhurt were concerned, for it was an escaped tra- 
gedy — and gayly speculating upon what would be the 
next turn of Fortune. 

The night was exceedingly lovely; and the moon 
poured down its tranquil radiance, and the soft May 
breezes kissed our brow and cheek, while we moved 
through the Eebel town closely guarded, as if they 
pitied our condition, and would have consoled us for our 
ill-starred fate. 




Consignment to a Mississippi Jail. — Repulsiveness of the Place. — Character 
of the Inmates. — Rebel Idea of Comfortable Quarters. — A Fragrant Spot. — 
Parole of the Captives. -s-Our Removal to the Court- House — Courteous Treat- 
ment. — Kindness of the Citizens. — Peculiarities of Union Men. — Miscompre- 
hension of the Enemy. 

One of my journalistic companions, when we were 
examined by tlie Provost Marshal, before whom we were 
taken as soon as we were collected on the shore, remark- 
ed, in a rather pompons and exacting tone: "Captain, 
we have not slept much for two or three nights past, and 
we would like to have as comfortable quarters as you 
can give us." 

The officer replied, that they were rather short of ac- 
commodations just then ; but we should have as good as 
the town afforded. 

I can not for the life of me determine how the idea 
crej)t into my brain ; but I fancied that, at least for that 
night, we (the officers and War-correspondents) would be 
given a tolerable lodging-place. 

Were my impressions well founded ? 

We shall see. 

After our examination, we were marched out under 
guard through several streets ; and, at last, about dawn, 
were stopped before a dingy iron gate and a dingier brick 


wall, wliich my recollections of tlie city tanglit me was 
the jail. 

There a bell was pulled, and we were admitted into 
the yard hy an ill-favored turnkey, who might have l)een 
a pirate without doing any dishonor to his physiog- 

We soon found he was in harmony with his surround- 

The jail-yard was filled with thieves and malefactors 
of every kind, RelDel deserters, and the riJBF-raff of the 
pseudo " Confederacy." They were filthy, ragged, 
coarse-featured, vile-spoken, and every way disgusting. 
They slept on the ground, with very little, if any, cover- 
ing, and cooked their 'fat bacon on sticks in the fire. 

At least one-quarter of the inclosure was a sink dug 
about the beginning of the War, and when the May sun 
arose, hot and sultry in that latitude, the odor that per- 
meated the place was most demoralizing. That huge 
sink emitted its reeking odors towards the starry 
heavens in such intensity, that I imagined I saw the 
glistening sentinels shudder and try to hold their celes- 
tial noses above that fragrant spot. 

That certainly, we thought, was the place where Shak- 
speare declared the ofifense was rank and smelt to Heaven. 

If rank, by the by, were as offensive as that Mississippi 
vale of Cashmere, I am sure no one could hire any of our 
little street-sweepers, for an ordinary sum, to be Major- 

We trio of Bohemians, who naturally had a love of 
comfort, and even luxury, could not help but laugh at 
the delicious locality into which we had been thrust, and 


the distinguished consideration with which we were re- 

"We concluded, if a man took excellent care of himself 
there, he might live five or six days, which was a most 
undesirable longevity in that fecundity of filth and Par- 
adise of perfumes. 

"Good quarters," laughed I to my companions, after 
I had surveyed the yard : ' ' By Jove, it would Ibe delight- 
ful to go hence to Hades a while, for change." 

We all laughed — a little sardonically, I suspect ; ^but 
what could we do else ? 

The idea of putting gentlemen in such a hole as that, 
was like inviting Lucullus to a banquet in a sewer. 

We were all new to prison-life in Secessia ; and 
many things struck us with abhorrence then, which we 
afterwards learned to regard with resignation. Still, it 
was not until some months after my removal to Rich- 
mond, that I witnessed any thing equal to the squalid 
scenes of the Yicksburg Jail. 

To complete the delightfulness of the place, I should 
say the ground seemed covered with vermin, and the 
prisoners there swarmed with them. 

We had not at that time grown practical entomolo- 
gists, nor had it become a daily duty to examine our gar- 
ments in quest of insects that tortured us. And hence, 
what we saw, filled us with excessive uneasiness. 

We were afraid to sit down, or even to stand still, lest 
we should be overrun ; and so we continued to walk 
backwards and forwards, with that aimless prison pace 
that subsequently became so familiar. 

Heroes of novels can not perish until the close of the 


last Yolume ; and even we matter-of-fact gentlemen — two 
of ns at least — were spared, the very opposite of dying of 
a rose in aromatic pain, and reserved l^y some ill-natnred 
divinity to pursue entomological researches, and eat corn- 
bread and bacon in six other Southern Prisons. 

Before noon of the 4th of May, the three Correspon- 
dents, and two officers of the Forty-Seventh Ohio, captur- 
ed with us, were transferred to the Court-House, whose 
dome we had so often seen from our camps across the 
river, and were there paroled by Major Watts, the regu- 
lar agent of exchange at Yicksburg, then the point of 
exchange for the West. 

He assured us we would be sent to Richmond, and 
thence North by the first flag of truce ; that the sole rea- 
son he did not return us to the Army from Yicksburg 
was, that G-eneral Grant had refused to receive paroled 
prisoners from that city. We believed the Major's story, 
and understood our parole as a solemn covenant which 
the Rebels and we were mutually bound to observe. 

At the Court-House we had fresh air, and a fine view 
of the Mississippi and much of the surrounding country 
from the altitude of our position. We could see our 
transports across the Louisiana peninsula, and our camps 
up the river from the Court-Room ; and we felt not a 
little annoyed that we were captives almost within mus- 
ket-range of our friends. 

The Rebel ofiicers treated us with courtesy, when they 
learned who we were. Strange to say, not even the 
name of The New York Tribune excited their anger, 
although we had been assured by Southern Majors and 
Colonels that if any of the Correspondents of that journal 


were taken, tliey would "be executed "by the infuriated 

The officers at VickslDurg did not offer to search our 
persons, or even ask what we had upon them. 

That was not their rule, however, as we learned from 
a party of men captured after us. Those persons were 
"badly treated, and their money and other valuables stolen 
— or, in other words, taken, with fair promises, but 
never returned. 

The three days we remained in Yicksburgh we were 
visited by a great many officers and citizens, who showed 
us all the courtesy we could have expected. 

We were even taken out at night to the head-quarters 
of Greneral Officers, to be catechised about the opinions of 
the people of the IS'orth respecting the duration of the 
"War ; what the North intended to do with the Rebels 
after they had been whipped ; and, especially, what dis- 
position the Yankees proposed to make of the negroes. 

As we were New York journalists, and had been with 
the Army from the breaking out of the War, the officers 
attached some weight to our opinions ; but if they 
obtained any consolation from our responses, their conso- 
lation must certainly have appeared to them as a " bless- 
ing in disguise." 

Some of the citizens who called on us offered to give us 
clothes and lend us money, for which we thanked them, 
but which we did not accept. 

They were of course loyal at heart ; and here let me say 
that almost without an exception, during my captivity, I 
found that the Southerners who revealed any humanity 
or generosity of disposition were Union men ; that theii* 


kindness was in proportion to tlieir fealty to tlie E.e- 

Secessionism, by some means tliat I will not attempt to 
explain, extinguishes, or at least represses, tlie better 
qualities of our nature, and develops the worst elements 
of human character. 

It is quite possible, of course, for an honorable and. 
upright man to be a Rebel ; but it is very difficult to find 
one among the enemies of his country. 

The few there are of the honorable-exception kind do 
not gravitate to Prisons, I will be sworn ; for Prison 
attaches in the South are generally men who have been 
very little if at all in the field, with tyrannical, brutal, 
and cruel dispositions, and so cowardly withal that they 
will ever use their power harshly when they know they 
can do so with impunity. 

On the whole, we were as politely treated at Vicksburg 
as we had any reason to expect ; and we departed thence 
with the idea that the ' ' Confederates' ' were not so bad 
as they had been represented^ — a gross error, which we 
had ample time to correct during the twenty months Ave- 
enjoyed their compulsory hospitality. 

During our brief sojourn in the Southern stronghold, 
we were rather lionized than otherwise. The papers • 
there spoke favorably of us, and complimented us upon 
what they were pleased to term our singular fearlessness 
in volunteering without any particular motive to go upon 
so perilous an expedition. The editors paid us several 
visits, and indeed we were the recipients of calls every 
hour in the day. 

At our quarters, in the upper part of the Court House, 


we miglit liave Ibeen said to "be liolding informal levees. 
We were certainly regarded with no little curiosity and 
some degree of admiration, for wliat the Rebel officers 
insisted npon considering our devil-may-care sx:>irit, and 
thorough contempt for their powerful batteries. 

One morning, having been invited to visit a General 
up town, I was compelled to appear in the streets with- 
out shoes or hose. My feet, which at least were white, 
and looked delicate, attracted the attention of some ladies 
in front of the Court House, as I limped painfully over 
the rough stones ; and when I returned, I found they had 
been kind enough to send me a pair of socks and shoes, 
though I was compelled to buy the latter of the Provost- 
Marshal, who did not inform me they had been given me 
by the generous-hearted women. 

The Provost pretended, as all the Southerners who 
have the least education do, to be a high-toned gentle- 
man ; and yet he could stoop to the petty meanness and 
dishonesty of taking money from a prisoner of war for a 
pair of shoes of which a lady had made him a present. 

In Yicksburg I made some additions to my wardrobe, 
having been "presented" with a dead soldier's cap by 
the jailer, who afterward sent in his bill for the article ; 
•and having borrowed a common military overcoat from 
the assistant surgeon captured with us. 

So attired, I traveled to Richmond in the unifomi of a 
private soldier — the first time I had ever donned a uni- 
form — and on such an occasion I must say I was very 
proud to wear the attire that our brave boys had made so 
hateful to Rebel eyes, and so honorable in the eyes of the 
Nation and the World. 




The Marble-Yard Prison. — Yisit to the Appeal Office. — Kindness of the Editors. — 
Tremendous Excitement and Panic at the Mississippi Capital. — A Terrified 
and Fugacious Mayor. — The Mississippian Office Preparing for an Exodus. — 
Curiosity Excited by the Yankees. — Southern Fondness for Discussion and 
Eodomontade. — Our Continuous Inflictions along the Route. — Incidents of 
the Journey. — The Whitehall Street Prison. — A Pertinacious Hibernian. — 
Abusive Editorial in a Newspaper, and its Effects, etc. 

On the evening of the 5tli of May, the two Ohio officers 
and- the Bohemians, with a number of privates, were sent 
to Jackson, Mississippi, and for two days were treated 
politely in the Marhle-Yard Prison. 

We were permitted to visit the Appeal Office — at last 
accounts the Memphis-Grenada- Jackson- Atlanta-Mont- 
gomery Appeal, very justly styled a moving Appeal, 
with whose editors we were personally acquainted before 
the war — and to write notes to our friends in the JSTorth 
that we were still among the living, instead of waltzing 
obliviously with the catfish in the turbid eddies at the 
bottom of the Mississippi. 

We had no blankets, and had made no additions to our 
wardrobe, and found it difficult to sleep in the rude 
quarters assigned us, without even a stick of wood for a 

Still we were journeying toward Freedom, we fondly 


imagined, and could afford to put up witli a few incon- 

The editors of the Appeal and one or two others treated 
us very kindly, lent us money, and gave us such articles 
as we most needed, for which we are still very grateful, 
"because friends under such circumstances are friends 

Great excitement prevailed in the Mississippi Capital 
at the time of our arrival, on account of the report that 
General Grant, at the head of his victorious army — he had 
then captured Grand Gulf — was marching on the town. 

At the street corners were knots of excited men, dis- 
cussing the prospects of the future with more feeling than 
logic. To us, who had long l)een careful ol)servers, it 
was evident they were at a loss what to do ; and you can 
imagine we rather enjoyed the trepidation of the Rebels. 

We saw a number of vehicles of various kinds loaded 
with household furniture, and men, women, children, and 
black servants, all greatly excited, moving rapidly out 
of town. 

A panic of the most decided kind existed among all 
classes of society ; but we had no difficulty in perceiving 
that the negroes of both sexes, young and old, enjoyed 
the quandaiy of their masters and mistresses. 

Whenever Ave passed, they recognized us as Yankee 
prisoners, and glanced at us with a meaning smile that 
to us was perfectly intelligible. 

The Mayor had put forth a gasconading hand-bill, 
designed as a placebo, which was posted in prominent 
parts of the capital, informing the citizens that there was 
not the least cause for alarm ; calling the people of Mis- 


sissippi to arms, to repel the Ibarlbarous invader from tlie 
soil lie polluted with his footsteps, and all that sort of 
stereotyped rant and hraggadocio for which the South has 
ever been famous. 

The bellicose poster, so far as our observation extended, 
did not seem to have the desired effect. 

If the citizens were flying to arms, they must have con- 
cealed them somewhere in the country, and have been 
making haste in that direction to recover them. They 
were certainly leaving town by all possible routes, and 
by every obtainable means of conveyance. 

The Mayor, I subsequently learned through loyal citi- 
zens of Jackson, was himself a fugitive before the paste 
on his defiant pronunciamiento Avas fairly dry. The oflS.ce 
of the Misslssijypian, one of the most virulent Secession 
sheets in the whole South, was manifestly disturbed and 
distressed, and not only contemplating, but indulging in, 
an hegira to a*safer quarter. 

When we .went by the office, there were cases of type 
on the sidewalk ready for instant removal, and the entire 
concern was in a palpable state of chaos and confusion. 
Under the existing condition of affairs we were anxious 
to tarry in Jackson, hoping we might very soon be 
greeted with the music of Grant' s guns. 

We had no doubt then our parole would be observed ; 
but we preferred recapture to any regular release, and 
we would much rather have rejoined the Union armj^ at 
once than be sent three or four thousand miles a round- 
about way to accomplish the same purpose. 

The Rebel ofiicer, a Lieutenant of a Louisiana regiment, 
no doubt feared our wishes might be realized, and hur- 


ried us away on tlie cars after we had passed two days 
in tlie town. We liad not been placed under guard, the 
officer accompanying us merely as escort, nor were we 
until we readied Atlanta, 

Along the route we had a great many privileges, and 
could have escaped at any time, but having been paroled, 
we considered ourselves bound by our parole, and 
thought our best interest would be served by remaining 
with our escort, and getting to Richmond as speedily as 

When the cars stopped at the station for meals, we. 
repaired to them as if we had been traveling in the North, 
without the least surveillance. 

On the boat, at Selma, we wandered about wherever we 
chose, as we had done at the village of West-Point, 
Georgia, and other places. 

In Montgomery, we put up at the Exchange Hotel, the 
Rebel Lieutenant sleeping in a diiferent part of the house 
from where we lay ; and in the evening, having stated 
that we would like to bathe in the Alabama, he ordered 
a corporal, without arms, to accompany us to the river, 
and show us the best place in the vicinity for our 

On the route we attracted a good deal of attention, 
especially at the small way- stations ; and whenever the 
cars stopped any time, we were surrounded by persons 
who plied us with questions, the chief of which were 
those put to us at Yicksburgh, respecting the disposition 
we would make of the Rebels after they were whipped, 
and of the negroes after we had given them their freedom. 

Our responses might not have been able ; but they were 


certainly ultra, and more calculated, on the whole, to fire 
than to freeze tlmt much talked of portion of sectional 
anatomy, the Southern heart. 

The pragmatical fellows who gathered about us werp 
very anxious to discuss the main question, the causes of 
the War, the wrongs of the South, the encroachments and 
injustice of the Il^orth, and all the subjects that had been 
argued to death before the secession of South Carolina. 

We told them it was useless to employ logic then ; 

that bayonets and batteries had supplied the place of 

- argument ; that the period for reasoning had passed ; and 

that the cause of the Republic had been submitted to the 

arbitrament of arms. 

They could hardly comprehend that very well ; but 
finding we would not revive and refute old and exploded 
arguments, they assured us we never could conquer the 
South ; that we would have to kill every man, woman^ 
and child before we could siibjugate the " Confederacy," 
and all that quintessence of bosh to which they seem so 
indissolubly wedded. 

ISTot being feminine, we grew weary of talking at last, 
and were very desirous of some kind of privacy, and of 
enjoying for a little while the luxury of silence. That 
we discovered very ditficult of obtaining. 

We could not sit down under the trees as we did at 
Montgomery, where we lay over on Sunday, without 
gathering a crowd ; and the officer with us was at last 
forced to order peremptorily those resolved on our loqua- 
cious martyrdom to let us alone. 

Gods ! those were serious inflictions ; and we concluded 

we had rather run the batteries half a dozen times than 


undergo tlie "boredom of talking to tlie countless fools we 
met all tlie way between Yicksburgli and Richmond. 

Speaking of tlie Sunday we remained in Montgomery 
reminds me of an incident that occurred while we wf^re 
strolling up the avenue toward the State House, in the 
afternoon, which represents a peculiar phase of Southern 

As we passed a dwelling, a coarse, l)rutal-looking fel- 
low thrust his head over a porch, and addressing a mu- 
latto girl standing on the sidewalk, used the following 
extraordinary language : 

"Mary, G — d — your soul; have you said your 
prayers to-day ?" 

"ISTo, master," in a tone quite free from the African 

''Well, hj G — , if 3^ou don't do it before to-morrow, 
I'll lash the skin off your'back, G — d — you !" 

So extraordinary was the language — so singular the 
■connection between the man's anxiety about Mary's 
prayers and his excessive profanity, that we all looked 
up in surprise, each one supposing he must have misun- 
derstood the fellow. 

On asking each other what the brute had said, we all 
repeated the same language ; and there can be no doubt 
we interpreted his orthodox solicitude and his vulgar 
swearing aright. 

It is not at all unusual in the South, such intermixture 
of professed Christianity with the violation of all prac- 
tical morality and decency. Men who transgress all the 
Conmiandments, will prate of God and the Bible very 
flippantly, and denounce a gentle and generous skeptic, 


whose life is entirely Wameless, as violently as if lie were 
a poisoner or a parricide. 

On the 9th of May we reached Atlanta, Georgia. 
The Union soldiers were marched off under gnard, the 
Rebel Lieutenant accompanying them, and leaving us in 
a sitting posture under a tree near the depot. 

We sauntered about the city for a while, answering a 
few questions asked by persons at the doors of the houses 
we passed, and then repaired to the Whitehall- street 
Prison, to which the privates had been consigned, to 
inquire of our escort where we should stop, whether at 
the Trout House or some other hotel. 

Arrived at the Prison, the Lieutenant, somewhat to our 
surprise, introduced us to Colonel somebody, the com- 
mandant, who invited us very politely to walk in. 

We did so ; the door closed behind us ; the key turned 
in the lock with a harsh and grating sound, and we were 
in close confinement. 

No one visited us during the days we passed there, 
except a most pertinaciously ofiensive Hibernian, an 
attache of the Prison, who entered every fifteen minutes 
to inquire if we did not want some liquor, or other con- 
traband article, which he was very willing to get if we 
would only be kind enough to pay Mm a "thrifie" for 
his trouble. 

Learning we did not wish any stimulant, he was very 
" anxious to exchange some Treasury IS'otes for Rebel cur- 
rency, declaring he knew an ancient Israelite round the 
corner who would give more for them than anybody in 
the city. 

We gave the Celtic individual some money to get 




exclianged, and after trying to cheat ns out of it by at 
least a dozen ingenious manoeuvres and flagrant false- 
hoods, he at last succeeded, with the greatest ditficulty, 
and after the most untiring exertion, he said, in obtain- 
ing one dollar and three quarters of the scrip for one 
dollar of our currency. 

My associate of TJie Tribune, while we were standing 
on the platform of the cars, going from Jackson to Merid- 
ian, had had his hat stolen from his head by a South- 
Carolina Major moving rapidly by on a train passing 
in an opposite direction. 

That generous and chivalrous act, depriving my com- 
panion of any article of coveiing, reduced him to the • 
necessity of tying a handkerchief about his head, and of 
subsequently employing the son of Erin as an agent to 
replace his lost hat. 

Various were the assumed or actual expeditions made 
into the city by our Hibernian custodian to procure a 
head-covering ; and the things he brought in were gro- 
tesque enough. 

Some of them looked like patent hen-coops ; some like 
dilapidated coal-scuttles ; others like rat-traps on an 
improved plan. Mr. Richardson tried them all on, and 
suffered from a severe headache, and great demoralization 
in consequence. 

At last a cotton cap, dirt-color, and amorphous in 
shape, was obtained— it reminded me of the head of the 
woolly horse, as it would probably appear after it had 
been struck by lightning — and worn by my friend for 
many months after. 

I always felt convinced that it was fortunate for the 


wearer lie was in prison wliile under the influence of that 
cap. Otherwise I think he must have turned highway- 
man, horsewhipped his father, murdered his grand- 
mother, or committed some other outrage entirely foreign 
to his nature. 

The following Autumn the cotton anomaly passed into 
the possession of an old and very honest farmer, confined 
in Castle Thunder for his loyalty; and such was the 
moral or rather immoral weight of the cap, that the gray- 
haired ruralist immediately began to steal. 

Poor fellow, he was not to blame ! Who could resist 
so potent a pressure, such a thing of evil as that fleecy 
abomination ? 

Up to that time we had traveled, as I have said, with 
a Lieutenant, merely as escort ; but an amiable and a 
chivalrous article in the Confederacy — edited, I am 
almost ashamed to say, by two Yermonters who had 
been two years in the South — declaring Correspondents 
the worst persons in the Army ; that they, and we par- 
ticularly, ought to be hanged ; and that they (the editors) 
would be only too happy to hold one end of the rope for 
our hempen accommodation, caused us to be treated 
somewhat rigorously, and marched through town, on 
our way to the depot, under a heavy guard. 

The two Lieutenants under whose escort we had trav- 
eled from Yicksburgh to Atlanta did not know much, 
but they were at least respectful and courteous. 

The third Lieutenant, who took charge of us from At- 
lanta, was a coarse, ignorant, brutal fellow, who endeav- 
ored to interest us by telling stories, to which the most 
depraved females of Church-street would have declined 


to listen, and to compensate himself for his entertainment 
by begging our knives and rings, or any of the few arti- 
cles we had that attracted his fancy. 

At the depot we were not even permitted to purchase 
a paper ; and the Lieutenant pretended, as did the com- 
mandant of the Prison, that we were in danger of 
being mobbed, on account of the odium excited against 
us by the grossly abusive editorial in the Confederacy. 
Whether there was or was not any ground for apprehen- 
sion, I am unaware ; but certainly we felt none ; albeit 
we deemed it quite in keeping with the generous conduct 
of the Southerners to mob two or three prisoners of war 
who were entirely unarmed, and therefore at their mercy. 

No one threatened or attempted to harm us at Atlanta, 
which place we left with no little satisfaction, because we 
were getting so much nearer, as we fondly thought, to 
our freedom. 

Our journey to Richmond, by way of Knoxville, was 
without accident or excitement. 

We were bored as usual with questions as we stopped 
at the stations, and greatly fatigued, on reaching what 
wds the Rebel capital, from riding in box, platform, hog 
and cattle cars, night and day, without any opportnnity 
or means of sleeping, and at about as rapid a rate as that 
of a towboat on the Erie canal. 




Arrival at Richmond. — Our Reception from the Union Officers. — Mistaken Idea 
about Human Endurance. — The First Shock in Prison. — Entomological Re- 
searches. — Sickness and Sentiment. — Violation of the Tribune Correspondents' 
Paroles. — Character of the Rebel Commissioner. — Determination of the Enemy 
to Hold us to the End of the "War. 

Arrived at Riclimond, about daylight on the morning 
of the 16th of May, the journalistic trio were told that 
they must become innaates of the notorious Liblby Prison 
until the flag-of-truce-boat came up, which would be in a 
day or two, when we would be sent North. 

While we stood in Carey street, near the corner of 
Twenty-first, the Union officers in the upper part of the 
building looked out of the windows, and cried "fresh 
fish ! fresh fish !" with a vigor of tone and an unction that 
I must say disgusted me to a point of indignation. 

I thought men who could make stupid jests in such a 
dismal building as the Libby seemed to be, from an exter- 
nal view, ought to be kept there for life. « 

They certainly looked distressed enough to be dignified ; 
and I was anxious the dramatic proprieties should be 

Ushered into the officers' quarters, we were loudly 
greeted with " Halloo, Yanks !" and plied with questions 
concerning the place, mode, and time of our capture. 


The Libby, thougli bad enougli, was not so bad as I 
had anticipated. The floor was clean and the walls were 
whitewashed ; but I thought if I were compelled to 
remain there a month, I should die outright. 

How little we know of ourselves ! 

I passed sixteen months in places far worse than that — 
in rat-holes, and damp cellars, and noisome cells ; and yet 
resolved to survive the Rebellion if I were allowed half 
a chance. 

And, thanks to an elastic constitution, which, by the 
by, required no anti-slavery amendments, and the prac- 
tice of a daily philosophy of the Xenocratic sort — to use 
the politician' s interpretation of Webster' s last words — 
"I am not dead yet." 

What first shocked me in the Libby more than aught 
else was, that my fellow-prisoners, at least once a day, 
thoroughly examined their garments, for what purpose I 
will not be unpoetic enough to state — and accompanied 
their r( searches with much profanity and considerable 

A few hours proved the urgent necessity of the custom, 
and from that time until after my escape I made a quoti- 
dian investigation — in which, like a jealous husband, I 
looked for what I feared to find — that never failed to fill 
me with aversion and disgust. 

I envied the Emperor Julian's indifierence on a subject 
which no man less great than he could possibly feel. 

The fact, too, that the prisoners were obliged to cook 
such little food as they could procure, wash dishes, clean 
floors, and do the general work of scullions, as I have 
mentioned in detail elsewhere, and all under the most 


adverse circumstances, rendered me a very relbellious 
loyalist ; and, in connection witli a system not yet fully 
recovered from an attack of intermittent fever in tlie 
Louisiana swamps, prostrated me, before two days were 
over, on tlie bare floor, witli flaming blood and a burning 

Sickness was somewbat new to me, and sickness there 
was a sensation one would not care to have repeated. . 

I am not much given to Sentiment ; but those dreary 
walls and hard floors, that rough fare and desolate cap- 
tivity, suggested their opposites, and brought to mind soft 
couches and softer hands, sweet voices and cooling 
draughts, thoughts of the Beautiful and memories of Sym- 
patliy, that were a torment and a torture there. 

"Sick and in Prison, and you visited me not." I 
found a meaning in those simple words I had not before 
discovered, and felt in my inmost soul how dreadful an 
accusation that would be against a heart that had ever 
assumed to love. 

On the 21st of May, the truce-boat reached City 
Point, and on the day following all the persons captured 
on our expedition were sent off", except myself and my 
confrere of the N"ew York Tribune. The enemy kept faith 
with them, and broke it with us ; evidently believing 
that Tribune men had no rights he was bound to re- 

Commissioner Ould, when asked by our journalistic 
friend if he «lid not design releasing us also, replied, with 
as many oaths as Hector McTurk, that we were the very 
men he wanted and intended to keep ; that he would 
hold us until a certain fabulous number of innocent Con- 


federates in Northern Ibastiles were set free ; and vaguely 
intimated that we should stay in prison until skating 
became a popular amusement in the Bottomless Pit, 

When my collaborateur and I were informed of that 
shameful violation of faith, we knew our case was hope- 
less ; that the Tt^lbune correspondents were in for the 
War ; that no substitutes could be obtained, and that no 
self-sacrificing and intelligent contrabands need aj)ply. 

Subsequently, desirous of obtaining some official repu- 
diation of our paroles, we put them in the hands of an 
attorney, and stated our case to him. He declared we 
were unjustly detained ; that no prisoner regularly 
paroled, as we were, had ever before been held ; but that, 
as we belonged to the Tribune, he could do nothing for us. 

Nor could he. 

Ould, with the unbounded effrontery and superlative 
falsification that characterize him even above other 
Rebels, declared Major AVatts had no right to parole us, 
and if he had had the right, he (Ould) would have pos- 
sessed the authority to revoke the parole. 

Eminent descendant of Ananias, like Ferdinand of 
Arragon, he only values a promise for the pleasure he 
experiences in breaking it. 

Trickster, hypocrite, and liar, he represents each char- 
acter so well that it is impossible to determine in which 
lie excels ; nor has he in any one of them any equal but 

He is one of the loudest mouthers about QJiivalry and 
Honor in the American Gascony ; and jei the only idea 
he can have of either of those much-abused terms is by 
practicing their opposites. 


When our case was referred to the Southern Secretary 
of War, in an unansweralble memorial, the following 
October — that we might have all the official evidence pos- 
sible of the perfidy of the Rebels — Mr. Seddon's sole 
answer was our consignment to the Salisbury (N. C.) 
Penitentiary, as general hostages for the good conduct of 
the Government. 

Who ever heard of making a pair of individuals hos- 
tages for the conduct of a ISTation ? 

Of course the thing was a farce. 

The Rebels only used that form that they might retain 
us to the end of the War. 

They might as well have held a box of sardines for the 
preservation of the morals of Sardinia ; and they knew it ; 
but they employed the phrase with all seriousness, and 
packed us off to Salisbury accordingly. 

I mention these circumstances to show the animus of 
the Richmond authorities toward the Ti^ibune men, and, 
if I must be entirely candid, out of pride at the high, but, 
I hope, deserved compliment they paid us. 

Never during the War have I known of another instance 
in which prisoners have been held, as we were, who had 
been paroled regularly by an accredited agent of exchange 
at a regular point of exchange. 

For the most honorable exception made in our favor, I 
feel thankful to the Rebels, generally and individually. 

Their whole history is one of inhumanity, and their 
name is Perfidy ; yet are they prolific of excuses and 
explanations for their perfidious conduct, as may be seen 
by a single instance. 

When I asked Major Thomas P. Turner, the Command- 


ant, if he was aware we were paroled, and liad the paroles 
in our j)Ockets — "Oh, that makes no difference," he re- 
plied ; " yonr paroles do not go into effect until after you 
are on the truce-boat," 

" What in Heaven's name do we want of paroles when 
we are on the truce-boat?" inquired I. "That is like 
telling a criminal sentenced to execution that he is par- 
doned, but that he is not to be benefited by his pardon 
until after he has been hanged an hour." 

When Major Turner is hanged, as I am quite sure he 
ought to be, I trust he will be pardoned with that special 




Axrival and Eelease of Union Officers. — Therapeutic Power of the Fall of Vicks- 
burg. — Its "Wholesome Effect on the Prisoners. — Gradual Resignation to Con- 
finement. — Means of Killing Time. — Journalistic Desire to Write, and the 
Impossibility of its Indulgence. — Exhibition of the Loyal Captives. — Summer 
Costumes. — Cruelty of our Keepers. — Petty Meanness of the Commandant. — 
The Drawing of Lots. — Horror of the Scene. — Barbarous Treatment of Citi- 
zens. — Consideration Shown the Officers. — Removal of The Tribune Corre- 

Wheist we first reached the Libby, not more than 
seventy or eighty officers were confined there, mostly 
prisoners taken at Chancellorsville ; but on the after- 
noon of the day of our arrival, Colonel A. B. Streight 
and his command joined ns ; and in a day or two more, 
Captain George Brown, of the gunboat Indianola, and 
his officers, were added to the number, making about one 
hundred and seventy- five in all. All of us felt very 
gloomy, at least ; but we kept up a cheerful exterior, and 
endeavored to make the best of our very obnoxious sur- 

About the 1st of June, the Chancellorsville and naval 
captives were released. I remember the latter were 
quite demonstrative over the prospect of their return to 
freedom ; so much so that I expressed to my confrere 



my surprise at their lack of self-discipline. "You must 
remember, Junius, tliey have been prisoners for three 
months," was his answer ; and, on reflection, I ceased to 
marvel at their display of excessive joy. 

Three months in Prison ! What an age it seemed ! I 
did not believe I could endure close confinement so long 
as that : I supposed I must die perforce before a similar 
period had elapsed. How little do we know ourselves — 
least of all, what we can bear of trial and of suffering ! 

The loss of my freedom and the uncertainty of its 
restoration, with the close atmosphere and the hateful 
surroundings of the Prison, were, as I have said, too 
much for me. , My system gave way, and ere a week 
had passed I was prostrate on the floor with a raging 
fever. Those who felt any interest in me became 
alarmed, thinking I would die in that wretched place. I 
did not share their apprehensions. My opposition was 
excited, and I determined to live if I could, and part 
with my soul under better auspices. 

Through eight weeks I suffered, and jet took no med- 
icine ; trusting to the best of physicians, Nature, for my 

I was cured at last in an unexpected, but most agree- 
able way. 

We were all anxious about Yicksburg, hearing, as we 
did through the Richmond papers, that Johnston was 
besieging Grant in turn, and would soon have him be- 
tween two hostile armies. 

On the afternoon of July 8th, while I lay tossing with 
fever on my blankets in the hot, confined, unAvholesome 
atmosphere of the Prison, a negro came up stairs and 


told ns Yickslburg was in our liands. The effect was 
instantaneous with me. 

'No cordial of Zanoni's could better have done its 
therapeutic, errand. 

I rose at once, and joined in a tremendous chorus of 
the " Star Spangled Banner," which made the air vibrate, 
and, pouring out into the street, caused one of the Rebel 
officers below to say: "Do you hear that? Those d — d 
Yankees must have got the news." 

That news, so glorious, proved more potent than an 
Arabian philter. I had no fever nor ailment of any kind 
for many a long month after. 

The fall of Yicksburg gave me a new lease of life, and 
strengthened the hearts of the Union prisoners to endure, 
like the blast of a defiant bugle in the hour of defeat. 

That was a happy evening for us, even in Prison. We 
all said we could afford to be captives as long as the 
Rebels were soundly whipped ; and not a few declared 
the fall of Yicksburg worth twelve months of freedom. 

We sat up till midnight, and awoke the echoes of that 
quarter of Richmond with the most vociferous singing 
of National airs, not forgetting "John Brown's body," 
which was especially obnoxious to the Rebels, and there- 
fore particularly agreeable to us. 

We could hear the insurgent officers swearing beneath 
our windows in the pauses of silence ; but their curses 
were music to our ears, and we chanted louder and more 
defiantly than before. 

Though the Libby, materially considered, was the least 
bad Prison of the seven in which I was confined in the 
South, it seemed often that I must die or grow insane 


there. We had a few books, but I could not read, and I 
was afraid to think any more than I could avoid, for 
thought became brooding, and brooding misery, and 

When the fever was not upon me, I tried every way 
to dissipate the dark and haunting fancies, the desolate 
and despondent feelings, that crowded upon my brain 
and heart. I tried tobacco for consolation, and, lighting 
a common clay pipe, I would pace the floor for hours, to 
and fro, in company with some of the ofiicers, talking of 
the Past and speculating on the Future. How weary 
and monotonous was that walk over that wide Prison 
floor ! Plow it grew into, and became a part of, my life ! 

My blood leaped and my soul sickened when I stared 
into the unborn days, and saw no one through which the 
light of liberty streamed.' Weary, worn, restless, I often 
pressed my pale face against the window-bars and gazed 
across the river, to the South, at the green slopes and cool 
forests, that seemed so sweet and refreshing and delicious 
in the distance. To walk there appeared like Paradise ; 
for there was no restraint, no compulsion. How I longed 
for the magic tapestry in the Arabian tale, which could 
transport me where I willed ! 

At last I began, by slow degrees, to accustom myself 
to my unnatural situation. I reflected on all the philo- 
sophic theories I had entertained, on all the stoical prin- 
ciples I had tried to cultivate, and determined to steel 
myself to the necessities of the occasion. The determina- 
tion brought its fruit. Will bountifully repaid me for 
its exercise. I found, after a few weeks, I could read, 
and reading was a great consolation. It aided me to 

LIBBY PRI602T. 267 

strangle the pangful hours ; to prevent constant introspec- 
tion; to turn back the surging tide that threatened at 
times to deprive me of reason. 

All the day, when I was not compelled to be in the 
kitchen, I stretched myself on my blankets near the win- 
dow, and strove to forget myself in the pages before me. 
I could do that but partially ; yet it was a great relief ; 
and I was very thankful I had early formed the habit of 
seeking society in books. After dark we had no lights, 
unless a small tallow candle, which we were compelled to 
extinguish at nine o' clock, could be called so ; and then 
a few of us would get together, and talk far into the 

Fortunately for me, I slept well at that period, and real- 
ized in dreams what Fortune denied me. Every night 
I was free. The body could be imprisoned, but the 
Rebels could not fetter the spirit. That returned to the 
dear old IN'orth, and dwelt during the sweet hours of 
slumber amid the scenes it once had loved. So much did 
I dream of freedom, that, at last, I lost all faith in jny vis- 
ions of the night ; knowing they Avere delusions even 
while I was under their influence. 

When I fancied myself in converse with my intimates ; 
sitting at a luxurious board ; surrounded by objects of 
beauty ; joyous amid the joyful, it was most painful to 
awake and behold the familiar beams above my head, 
and the rafters of the roof, and the hateful walls of the 
Libby. I had suffered in that way so often that my 
reason would no longer succumb to my imagination ; and 
when pleasant and sympathetic voices seemed to fall upon 
my ear, I knew they were recollections, not realizations. 



the reflected desires of my own, not tlie outpouring of 
another, heart. 

As prisoners gathered to the Libby, as they did from 
Winchester and Gettysburg, greater efforts were made 
for passing the time resignedly and j)i'ofitably. Classes 
in Latin, French, and German were established ; books 
were procured in quantities in the city ; debating socie- 
ties were formed, and manuscript papers begun, I con- 
fess I had not the heart, nor was I in the mental condition, 
to take advantage of those means to lighten the burdens 
of confinement ; but my colldborateur^ Mr. Richardson, 
recreated himself frequently in the debating society, and 
became the most prominent of its members ; drawing the 
officers largely whenever it was known he would par- 
ticipate in the discussion. 

Had I possessed the facilities, I should have liked to 
write something ; but how could I do so when we had no 
tables, except the rough boards from which we ate, and 
they were always in use ; no chairs, or stools, or boxes 
even, to sit upon ; no space, however small, which was 
free from invasion and disturbance ? The book I would 
have written would not have been on ]3i'ison-life, or had 
aught to do ^vith prisons : it would have been something 
like a novel of society, and filled, I fancy, with misan- 
thropy and bitterness, combined with soft imaginings and 
voluptuous coloring — the one produced immediately by 
the scenes about me ; the other, through contrast with 

Reading, smoking, talking, scrubbing, walking, and 
cooking, made up my slender existence in the Libby. 
Many of the officers were gentlemen of intellect, culture, 


taste, and breeding ; but some, unfortunately, were so 
destitute of dignity and manners tliat we were compelled 
to blush for them when prominent Rebels, either in mili- 
tary or civil life, were brought into the Prison, as they 
frequently were, by Major — then Captain — Thomas P. 
Turner, commandant — to see the collection of Yankee cu- 
riosities. The Rebels would walk about the rooms very 
much as if they were in a zoological garden, and this 
General, that Colonel, or that Major, was pointed out as 
would be a Bengal tiger, an African giraffe, or a Polar 

Colonel Streight, while we were in the Libby, was 
the principal lion. The Richmond papers had abused 
him so much, though for what reason it was impossible 
to conjecture, that they had rendered him famous. He 
had failed on his raid, through lack of fresh animals, to 
strike the enemy the severe blow he had intended ; but 
he was hated as heartily as if he had been altogether suc- 
cessful. The hatred of the ' ' chivalry ' ' disturbed him 
very little, however : indeed, I am quite confident he 
enjoyed it ; and hated them back with an intensity that 
must have left some margin in his favor. 

Of course The Tribune correspondents had their share 
of attention, and were occasionally exhibited among the 
N'orthern monstrosities. Had we been statues we could, 
not have been more frozen and formal to the hostile vis- 
itors or the attaches of the prison. We never spoke to 
any of them, save in the way of business inquiry, unless 
we were addressed, and then briefly and pertinently as 
possible. They generally knew our status, antecedents, 
and opinions — and if they did not they could easily have 


discovered tliem — and therefore questioned us very little 
respecting our views and expectations. We were freed 
from tlie perpetual annoyances to wliich we had "been 
subjected on the way to Kichmond, and we profoundly 
appreciated the relief. 

Various were the methods the officers adopted to pass 
the time. Those of a lymphatic temperament slept about 
fifteen or eighteen hours out of the twenty-four. Those 
of a very nervous and active mental organization played 
cards — poker, euchre, and whist — checkers, and back- 
gammon ; wrestled, romped, and skylarked — as the sail- 
ors term it — read and talked about past campaigns 
and future prospects ; crushing the Kebellion, and set- 
tling the affaks of the Nation, every few hours of the day. 

The weather was very warm and sultry, and in the 
Prison, of course, extremely close, and sometimes stifling. 
We were accustomed, consequently, to wear as few 
clothes as possible, but went around in nothing but draw- 
ers and shu't, without shoes, and, sometimes, even with 
less attire. Fortunately, there was a bathing-tub in our 
quarters, and somebody was in it all the while. At an}'- 
hour of the night we could hear the water running, and 
the splashing and plunging of the aqueous enjoy ers. 

No doubt that had much to do with our health, which, 
contrary to all expectation, was quite good throughout 
the Summer. There were few deaths during the four 
months of my incarceration, and not much serious illness. 
Very strange it was so, when we remember how impure 
and vitiated the atmosphere was, and how little care and 
comfort we could obtain when once sick. 

During the mid- Summer some of us profited by a ladder 


leading to tlie roof of the Ibuilding, hy wMcli tlie subordi- 
nates of the Prison ascended for the purpose of raising 
and taking down the ' ' Confederate ' ' flag that flew every 
day over the Libby. When we went to the hole cut in 
the roof for ventilation, and placed our faces over it, the 
air from below was so corrupt, heated, and steana-like, 
as to almost suffocate us ; and yet in that atmosphere we 
were forced to live, and breathe, and have our being. 

When it was discovered that we were obtaining a little 
fresh air after sunset upon the roof, our cruel custodians 
ordered us down, and threatened to punish us severely 
and close the aperture for ventilation if we persisted in 
going up there. They even did fasten down the sky- 
light for a fortnight, at the most torrid season of the year, 
because some unfortunate had disobeyed orders. 

That was a fair specimen of the cruelty of our keepers. 
We did no harm on the roof ; no one could even see us 
there from the town ; and yet they would not permit us 
to enjoy the blueness of the sky and the genial air of the 
evening, when they knew we were gasping and panting 
in our mephitic quarters for the very thing they denied us. 

Shame, shame, upon such inexcusable barbarity, such 
motiveless cruelty ! 

Soon after our arrival in Richmond, a paragraph was 
copied from TJie Tribune into the papers there, speaking 
of Major Turner as the "infernal brute that commanded 
the Libby." At that time Turner had not revealed him- 
self, and I supposed the denunciation unmerited. One 
day, in conversation with the Major on this subject, he 
remarked, that if he were caught in New York he would 
probably be hanged. I told him I thought not ; that he 


had no doubt "been misrepresented, as I believed tlien lie 
had. Subsequently I learned better ; and now I indorse 
the paragraph in question most fully and cordially. 

I think if justice were meted out to Major Turner, he 
would be executed summarily, and that the Prison In- 
spector, one Richard Turner — no relative of the com- 
mandant's, but formerly a Baltimore blackguard, and 
aspirant for the honors of Plug-uglyisni — and a little 
puppy named Ross, once a resident of IN'ew York, would 
share his fate. They did every thing in their power to 
persecute prisoners, and richly deserve death at the hands 
of those they treated so cruelly. Major Turner did not 
do harsh things himself, so far as I knew ; he was too 
politic for that ; but he permitted them to be done, 
and is, of course, responsible for the outrages, and they 
were many, practiced upon the captives under his 

Speaking of him, he was guilty of a very small, but 
entirely characteristic meanness towards us. When Mr. 
Colburn of Tlie World was released, he very kindly left 
$50 in Treasury Notes with Major IS'orris for our use, as 
we were likely to remain in durance for an indefinite 
period. Major Norris handed the amount to Major Tur- 
ner, who informed us there were $50 in .' ' Confederate' ' 
currency in his office to our credit. I told him ]\Ir. Colburn 
had agreed to leave us the sum in our money, whicli, as 
he was aware, was worth far more than the issues of the 
South. The Major T*eplied, somewhat nervously, that the 
notes handed to him were "Confederate ;" and that was 
all he knew about it. He simply told a deliberate false- 
hood for the purpose of cheating us out of a few dollars. 


And 3^et lie assumes to be a liigli-toned, lionorable gentle- 
man ; and, according to tlie Southern standard, perliaps 
lie is. 

During our confinement at tlie Libby, Captains Flinn 
and Sawyer were selected by lot to be executed, in retal- 
iation for two Kentuckians whom General Burnside had 
caused to be shot for recruiting within our lines. 

Well do I remember the morning — it was during the 
latter part of June, I think — the Captains were called out 
of their quarters. They hurried down stairs gayly, and 
even boisterously, supposing they were to be paroled. 
They were taken into a vacant room on the lower floor of 
the prison, formed in a hollow square, and there informed 
solemnly and impressively, by Major Turner — even he 
seemed moved on the occasion — that he had a very 
painful duty to perform, at the same time reading an 
order from Greneral Winder to select two of the ofiicers 
present for immediate execution. 

Imagine the sensations of the Captains— some fifty' in 
number — at that moment ! What a terrible reaction must 
have followed ! What an icy chill of horror must that 
announcement have struck to their hearts, swelling a few 
minutes before with the hope of early restoration to free- 

It was not the fear of death that blanched so many war- 
worn cheeks, and shook so many brave hearts ; it was the 
suddenness, the horror of the idea — the cold, deliberate 
determination, bj'' lot, of a violent death to two of their 
Jnnocent companions-in-arms. 

One of our chaplains was requested to draw the names 
that had been written on slips of paper and thrown into a 


box, and the first two were to "be the victims. One might 
have heard the fall of a rose-leaf at that awful moment. 
Every Ibreath seemed suspended ; every heart bursting 
with its pulsation. Eyes kindled with burning anxiety, 
and lips quivered with suppressed emotion. Fearful 
scene ! who can forget it ? 

The names were drawn and announced ; and that 
hollow square took a long breath that was audible in 
the painfully silent room. The selected Captains did not 
change countenance. Tliey were pale before ; but they 
turned no paler. Their mouths closed more firmly, as if 
they Avere summoning the resolution of brave men to die 
bravely, and they walked mournfully, though silently, 

They were taken before General Winder — I am very glad 
he is dead — who abused them shamefully when he knew 
they believed they had only a few days, perhaps hours, to 
live — and thence removed to the subterranean dun- 
geons of the Libby. Every one knows how General Lee, 
the son of Robert E. Lee, and Captain Winder were made 
hostages for Flinn and Sawyer, and how the Rebel au- 
thorities finally released the chosen victims, although the 
Richmond papers clamored for their blood, and bitterly 
denounced Jefferson Davis because he did not dare to ex- 
, ecute them. As I told them they would, the very day of 
their allotment, they obtained their freedom long before 
77ie Tribune Correspondents ; and yet their position was 
by no means pleasant. The Rebels were growing despe- 
rate even then ; and it was not unreasonable to suppose 
they might attempt the inauguration of a bloodj^ retalia- 
tion in the hope of compelling, what they had otherwise 


failed to secure, tlie interference of European powers for 
tlie sake of humanity. 

The day of the drawing was a gloomy one in the Lihhy. 
We all felt if the Captains were executed, that no one was 
safe ; that retaliation once begun, no one could say where 
it would end. 

Mr. Richardson and myself knew our prospects would 
"be unusually brilliant for sudden removal from the terres- 
trial ball, if the execution of prisoners once became the 
fashion ; and we discussed with a grim kind of humor the 
sensations we would possibly experience when we were 
led out to be shot or hanged. I expressed a decided parti- 
ality for shooting, as more military, genteel, and dramatic ; 
and denounced hanging as an undignified and ungentle- 
manly mode of exit even out of Rebeldom. I remem- 
bered what a strong bias I had always had against the 
gallows, and began to believe that the early developed 
feeling was a premonition of my fate. I lost no sleep, 
however, over the matter. I had as much as I could do 
to live there, anyhow, and concluded, if I had to stay in 
Southern prisons for many months, hanging might not be 
so bad, after all. 

On the 2d of September, 1863, we were transferred from 
the Libby to Castle Thunder — -a movement we by no 
means relished, as the reputation of the Castle was ex- 
tremely bad even in Richmond — but of which, of course, 
we would have been too proud to complain, even if com- 
plaining had been of any advantage. 

To leave the ofiicers with whom we had been for four 
months, and among whom we had many warm friends, 
was a sore trial, especially when we were going to a place 


wliere the worst class of prisoners was kept; but we 
"bundled up our blankets ; sliook hands with hundreds of 
men whose countenances we could not recognize in the 
crowd ; and hurried down stairs into Carey street, to gaze 
at the pallid faces peering at us through the bars, and 
wishing us good fortune whereyer we might go. 

The Libby, as I have said, was the most endurable 
prison of which we were inmates ; and I may here state 
that our officers were in every way better treated than any 
other class of prisoners. Indeed, they can have little idea 
of the sufferings of captives in the South, judging by their 
own experience. Citizens who were held in another part 
of the Libby, while we were there, were most inhumanly 
treated : they were not allowed to purchase any thing, 
though their rations were so short that they were con- 
stantly hungry, and we, in the officers' quarters, supplied 
them surreptitiously with bread and a few of the common 
necessities of existence, which they devoured like famish- 
ing men. 

The Southerners have such love of approbation, and 
draw the line so markedly between gentlemen and com- 
moners, that they hesitate to show to the officers, supposed 
by the Army Regulations to be of a different race from the 
privates, the worst side of their character. Beyond the 
petty tyranny, superciliousness, and generally offensive 
bearing of the officials at the Libby, we had, during our 
stay, little to complain of, at least compared to what we 
saw and suffered elsewhere in Secessia. 




Disappointment and Disgust in Prison Life. — Tlie Union Officers as Servants and 
Scullions. — Journalistic Cooking and its Trials. — The First Brealcfast. — Horrors 
of the Culinary Art. — Interior View of tlie Kitchen. — Grotesque and Mortifying 
Scenes. — Battles of the Saucepans and Skillets. — Complaint, Clamor, and Con- 

Before my capture, I liad imagined all manner of 
repulsive surroundings and annoying incidents in Rebel 
Prison ; but I had supposed tliat War-captives were 
at least allowed full leisure, as some compensation for the 
loss of freedom. 

When I reached the Libby Prison, I was surprised 
atid exceedingly indignant to learn that it was the duty 
of the Officers, the Correspondents of the Tribune in- 
cluded, to clean their own quarters and prepare their 
own food. 

That seemed an outrage upon propriety, designed to 
deg^de gentlemen by association, education, and pro- 
fession, to the rank of cooks and scullions, and fiUed me 
with a violently insurgent spirit. 

When I came to reflect, however, that what we did 
was for our own good ; that we preserved our health and 
insured our comparative comfort by attending to those 
really menial offices, I grew reasonably resigned. 


Subsequently, wlien I burst into an expression of anger 
and disgust to tlie Commandant of the Libbj one day, lie 
informed me lie would be glad to cook our rations, but 
that tlie Officers generally preferred to prepare them for 

That statement — very remarkable do I regard the fact 
— I found to be true. 

The rations — bread, bacon, and rice at the time — Tvere 
so vilely cooked by the negroes, that the Officers had 
requested permission to perform the culinary duties, and 
obtained it. 

They disliked watery soup, with dirt, hemp, pebbles, 
and roaches as condiments, and muscular beef boiled 
to superlative dryness. They believed they could sup- 
port life by the consumption of less dirt, if they took the 
matter into their own hands ; and they deemed the 
experiment worth trying. 

The officers were divided into large and small messes — 
the former containing twenty to thirty, and the latter four 
to six members — and every day one or more of the mem- 
bers was appointed to do the cooking and dish-washing, 
and perform the other poetic et ceteras for the twenty-four 

The third day, it came my turn to preside over the 
destinies of the Kitchen ; and most alarming was -the 

I would rather have attempted to capture Richmond, 
or pay off the National Debt, or be happy in the Libby ; 
but, as I could employ no substitute, I was bound to rely 
on myself. 

The cooking was not very extensive, nor were the 


means ; but I felt as awkward as if I were albout to address 
tlie Tycoon in Japanese. 

Imagine tlie situation of an unfortunate mortal wlio not 
only liad never done any thing of the kind, but had never 
seen it done. 

The stewing of '' Saddle-Rocks" in a chafing-dish, or 
the preparation of a lobster salad, was as far as I had 
ever advanced in the mysteries of the cuisine. ' 

If I could have had another wish beside that for my 
liberty, I would have asked to be metamorphosed into 
the humblest of cooks. 

There was no use of fretting. 

Complaint never cooked a piece of bacon, nor made a 
fire in a broken stove. 

I set to work ; my companions, who had had their 
experience, laughing at my earnest endeavors, and my 
ill- concealed disgust. 

There were very few dishes ; the stoves were in a 
wretched condition ; the wood was green ; the bacon was 
tough ; and my knife was dull. 

After laboring an hour, the perspiration streaming 
down my face, I succeeded in getting some pieces of 
bacon over the fire, and spilling the grease upon the 
only pantaloons I possessed. In another hour I had 
fried some bread in the pan, and at the close of the 
third I had boiled a little water impregnated with burnt 
corn, which the Rebels, with a delightful idealism, 
|,ermed coifee. 

We stood up to breakfast, — ^memories of the Fifth 
Avenue and Delmonico's, come not near ! — one tin dish, 
a block of wood, and a piece of brown paper serving as 


the plates ; a peji-blade, our fingers, and a sharp stick, as 
knives and forks. 

I was very hungry when I undertook the matutinal 
meal ; hut my efforts had destroyed my appetite. 

I stood and looked on the rough board that served for 
a table, and if I had been a woman I presume I should 
have wept like Mobe, and declared I would be a nun. 

Again and again I had to cook that day, which seemed 
as if it would never end ; and though for four months I 
sacrificed myself on the altar of the Kitchen, I never 
became reconciled to the ultra-prosaic obligation. 

Heavy and desolate as was Prison life, the hours that 
divided me from ni}^ cooking-day appeared like minutes, 
when I thought of that dire necessity. 

From seven o'clock in the morning until quite dark I 
then passed in the Kitchen ; watching my opportunity 
to get some vessel on one of the fractured stoves, and 
seeing that no one took it off when it was once on. 

Cooking at the Libby was a perpetual struggle, jar- 
ring, tumult, and annoyance ; not infrequently involving 
a personal encounter. 

A man who could have preserved his temper there 
would have excelled human nature. 

The process of operating in the kitchen would have 
irritated a saint, and made Fenelon blasphemous. 

Just picture the place to yourself. 

In a room twelve by twenty feet were three broken 
stoves, in which at least seven or eight hundred men had 
to cook. The pans, pails, and cups were very few ; not 
one where twenty were needed. 

The stoves smoked like Vesuvius ; the apartment was 


always sky-color ; the atmosphere hot and pine-impreg- 
nated to suffocation. 

One was required to wait sometimes an hour "before he 
could get a place on the stove ; and, as soon as had, he 
was likely to lose it by some other person removing his 
dish, and putting his own in its stead. 

One could not lay down a knife or fork without miss- 
ing it ; could not turn his back without being deprived 
of some portion of his rights. 

I would have liked to see the South try to get its 
rights there. 

Astrsea herself could not have obtained hers. 

Under such circumstances there was constant bicker- 
ing, wrangling, and contention, mth more violations of 
the Third Commandment than I care to record. 

Threats were made, insults offered, and even blows 
exchanged ; all of which appears now very silly and 
undignified ; but then I did not wonder at it. 

We were all in a condition of suppressed irritation. 
Our nerves were morbidly acute. The law of our Being 
read backwards. Our temperament was revolutionized. 
We were disposed to visit on each other what under dif^ 
ferent circumstances would have been visited on the 
common foe. 

The mishaps and contretemps of the Kitchen were too 
numerous to mention, and, to a man who could keep his 
temper, exceedingly ludicrous. 

It was singular, such was the aggravation and provo- 
cation at all times, that there were so few actual pugilis- 
tic engorgements. We had a hundred incipient affairs of 
the kind every day, and several personal encounters 


were usually generated out of tliat number. Generally, 
however, tlie bitterness of feeling wasted itself in 

All the prisoners felt that it was disgraceful for officers 
of the United States Army to be engaged in personal 
quarrels ; but when a man had his vessel, which he had 
been two hours in getting, stolen almost before his eyes ; 
had hot soup poured down his back ; scalding coffee 
turned into his boots ; or his rice-pail filled with pota- 
toes ; was it strange that he was deprived of his amiabil- 
ity, and ventured the assertion that he could whip 
somebody — it mattered not whom ? 

The scenes that occurred there every morning were 
worthy of the pencil of Hogarth or Cruikshank. 

The room was crowded to excess. Everybody was 
trying to do what only one-twelfth of those present could 
accomplish. There were fifty claimants for every vessel. 

The small messes came into collision with the large 
messes. The war raged with the bitterness of the con- 
tests between the houses of York and Lancaster, or the 
rival factions of the Guelphs and Ghibellines. 

Such a conglomeration of interests and purposes ; such 
a chaos of voices ; such a jostling and confusion ; such 
an oUa podrida of the absurd, the excited, the belliger- 
ent, and the profane could not well have been witnessed 
anywhere else. 

And then the conviction that the resentments and 
quarrels were altogether mean and unworthy ; the idea 
that gentlemen should fly into a passion, and descend to 
the morals of the Prize Ring, about a few miserable iron 
skillets and tin pans ; should for no higher object imitate 


the fisliwomeii of Billingsgate, mortified all concerned 
when coolness and reflection came. 

Every ofiicer, wlien the cooking was over for the day, 
promised amendment, and vowed for the future he would 
observe decency and decorum. 

But when the dreadful cooking-day came around again, 
those good resolutions were dispersed into thin air, and 
the ancient Adam asserted itself in spite of good-breed- 
ing, self-discipline, and the sense of propriety. 

Through the thick smoke of the Libby Kitchen a con- 
fusion of tongues was heard that reminded one of his 
idea of the Tower of Babel. 

Some of the foreign officers became so excited that they 
could not do justice to their feelings in the English ver- 
nacular, but appealed to German, French, and Italian— 
we had a number of nationalities in the Prison — for full 
expression of their fancied wrongs and woes. 

Many of them declared that they would rather go 
through a battle than spend a day in the kitchen — and I 
shared their opinion fully ; for, grotesque and contempt- 
ible as those things appear at present, they were our life 
then, and weighed with a now incomprehensible burden 
on our spirit and our brain. 

Who that w as there will ever be able entirely to forget 
the Libby Kitchen ; the struggle between the small and 
the large messes ; the great contest of the pans and 
plates ; the sieges of the skillets ; the raids upon the 
wood-pile ; the defeats at breakfast ; the drawn battles 
at dinner ; the triumphant victories at supper ; the irre- 
pressible conflict between bacon and business ; rice and 
rhetoric ; dried apples and despair 'I 





Prison within a Prison. — Full Appreciation of Sterne'.s Starling. — Evil Destiny of 
the Tribune Correspondents. — One of our many Failures and its Result. — 
Interior View of a Rebel Cell. — The Rare Society we found there. — Glance at 
the Gross Corruption in Secessia. — Novel Means of making Confederate Cur- 
rency. — Horrors of Southern Dungeons. 

To dwell in a prison witliin a prison is one of tlie ex- 
periences the War Correspondents enjoyed in Riclimond, 
and wliicli not a few of our ofloicers and soldiers liave 
shared with them. 

As I have mentioned, we of the Tribune were always 
endeavoring, like Sterne's Starling, to get out — by the hy, 
I never fully felt the truth of that bit of fine writing in 
the "Sentimental Journey" until I had, been a prisoner 
nearly a year — and, like the poor bird, we found it a hard 
task to accomplish our freedom. 

At Castle Thunder we always had some plan ; and as 
often as we failed, we formed another. We had made 
arrangements, through trusty messengers, where to go in 
the city, in the event of our breaking the bonds that 
fettered us ; and we felt confident our escape could not 
be much longer delayed. 

The Destinies seemed opposed to us, however. All our 
endeavors blossomed without fruit. We failed almost 
.always through some other agency than our own ; and at 


last we came to look npon ourselves as the Jonahs of any 
enterprise of the kind. 

Any tunnel in which we were interested was sure to Ibe 
exposed, or too long deferred, or to tumble in at the very 
moment it was ready to l^e tapped. 

Any guard that we had gotten into a proper condition 
to take our money, and give us our freedom, was certain 
to be detailed, or fall sick, or die, or get drunk just when 
we needed him. 

Any night on which we depended for complete dark- 
ness, proved to be decked out with at least a thousand 
additional stars and an extra flood of moonlight. 

The Elements and Fortune both seemed to have arrayed 
themselves against the ' ' historians of the War ;' ' and we 
marveled much when the long night of adversity would 

In one thing we were lucky enough. The authorities 
of the Prison either did not suspect us of being Catilines, 
or, if they did, gave us no intimation of their suspicion. 
That was somewhat singular ; for a citizen of Maryland, 
who assumed to be a most earnest Unionist and a most 
zealous Christian, we knew was a perpetual spy upon 
all the inmates of the room in which we were confined ; 
and we knew also that he was morally certain we had 
tried a score of times to get out. 

On a certain night the thing was all arranged. There 
was to be no postponement on account of the weather, 
and positively no change of performance. 

At twelve o' clock one of the JVew Yorli Herald Corre- 
spondents, Mr. Richardson, myself, and several others, 
Were to go out of the room — the sentinel having agreed 


to unlock the door — down into the street, "by other guards 
who were in our pay and confidence. 

We arose from our Iblankets — we had lain down for a 
feint — put on our clothes, and were ready to set out. 

The sentinel wished to see our money. 

The Herald man handed him a roll of bank-notes, and 
when they were returned, they proved to be ones instead 
of fives, as the Correspondent insisted. That was a pal- 
pable theft ; and we concluded if the guard would cheat 
us on the inside of the bars, we could not depend on him 
on the outside. 

So we fell back with maledictions on the perfidious 

The next morning the Bohemian discovered Ms mistake. 
He had given the guard the wrong roll of notes ; and we 
lost our chances for freedom — that time at least — by our 
own blander. 

The subsequent afternoon we three Bohemians were 
called out, and informed that we would be consigned to 
a cell ; and before evening we were transferred there. 

A dismal, dirty place, that cell. It was about twenty 
by twelve feet ; the floor incrusted with fiilth. But one 
window served to let in any light. The walls and ceiling 
were begrimed with smoke and years of accumulated 

No ventilation in the cell, which was sorely needed, as 
there were tubs in the den that had stood there, and in- 
fected the atmosphere for many weeks, if not months. 

A temple of Cloacina was a charming abode, and a 
smoke-house a rosy Eden, compared to that cell. Not 
a box, bench, or even stick of wood, was in the place. 


A small broken stove constituted its sole piece of fur- 

The cell brought to our mind the Yicksburg jail, and 
we laughed at tlie magnificent preparations made for our 
reception. The first thing we did was to give two or 
three handfuls of Rebel currency — we certainly could 
afibrd to be generous with that kind of " money" — to an 
attache of the Castle, and ask for wood, a wash-basin, a 
stool, &c. 

We did not relish the change, but we concluded to 
make the best of the worst, and immediately set about 
rendering ourselves — in the true Bohemian style — as little 
uncomfortable as possible. We lighted our pipes to im- 
prove the atmosphere, and talked of ]^ew York hotel- 
life ; of handsome furniture, epicurean dishes, and the 
very opposite of our surroundings. 

At a late hour we rolled ourselves in our blankets, and 
slept quite well, in spite of the repulsiveness of the place. 
In the morning, our companions in the room we had left 
sent us various articles of food from the boxes received 
from the l^orth, and kind expressions of sympathy and 
hopes that we would soon be released from our prison 
within a prison. 

The same day some seven new personages were sent 
into our cell for a similar offense to ours. They were 
decidedly mauvais sujets^ and had all belonged to the 
Southern army. For two years they had been guilty of 
all manner of crime — theft, burglary, forgery, stabbing, 
shooting, and I know not what else. Their faces reflected 
their characters, and would have been admirable additions 
to the Tombs' gallery of notorious rogues. 


DeligMful society, tliouglit we, for gentlemen ; and we 
referred to Young Mirabel in the company of the bravos. 

Alas ! there was no Oriana to deliver us from our pecu- 
liar friends ! We were obliged to await the inexorable 
logic of events, and we waited long. 

Our bevy of fresh visitors, with all their vices, treated 
us with entire courtesy and kindness. They oifered to do 
little offices, and really assisted us in many ways. One of 
them was extremely desirous to have me write him a love- 
letter to his inamorata, a bar-maid or kitchen queen re- 
siding in the city. 

I gratified him, and indited a classical MUet-doux to 
his proletarian mistress, with which he expressed much 
delight ; the only objection to it being his inability to 
understand what it was all about. 

The rogues grew very cominunicative, and told us how 
much money they used to make, twelve or fifteen months 
before, by "shoving a Mick," "running a kink," and 
other entertainments, the nature of which, from the occult 
language of the revealers, was entirely enigmatic. 

Our friends undertook to enlighten us on the character 
of their speculations, informing us that ' ' running a Mick' ' 
was to get an Irishman drunk ; induce him to enlist for 
two or three hundred dollars ; obtain five times that sum 
from some citizen desirous of procuring a substitute ; and 
after sending the Hibernian to Camp Lee in the forenoon, 
to go out for him towards evening ; bring him in again, 
and sell him to some other individual requiring a repre- 
sentative in the field. 

"Coming the kink" was to steal a negro from the 
country, and dispose of him in town ; one of the party 


Mmself pretendfeig to be an African — haying previously 
"blacked up, and put on a wig — and a brother or near 
relative of the melanthrope in question. Those fellows 
would steal the Ethiop and sell him again ; and some- 
times they had bartered away the same darkey seven or 
eight times in one month. 

Those revelations were highly edifying, of course. 
They gave us such a new idea of the peculiarities of 
trade that we have ever since confessed our ignorance 
of some of its branches. 

Some of the rogues had been traveling through the 
South for two 3'ears, drawing the pay of Lieutenants, 
Captains, and Majors, though they never had been more 
than privates, and had only carried muskets until they 
found it convenient to run away. In the line of desertion 
they had. been very energetic. They assured me they had 
belonged to twelve or thirteen regiments at different times, 
and had engaged themselves as substitutes whenever 
opportunity offered. 

They were a rare coterie of gentlemen, and I greatly 
admired the delicacy of their organization, and their 
sublimated ideas of honor. They furnished us with 
some knowledge of the corruption that existed in 
Secessia, by assuring us that there were hundreds of 
bogus officers in every State, who had swindled the 
Treasury out of millions of dollars. 

"Confound their old rags !" said our heroes of Alsatia, 
in justification of their dishonesty, "what harm is there 

in stealing their d d trash? They ought to pay a 

man for putting it in circulation." 

The fellows were adventurous, too. 


They had frequently made their esca^, "but always 
contrived to be brought back. They had changed their 
names so often that they did not recognize, or had for- 
gotten, the one they originally bore. They had been in 
every department of dishonest enterprise — from watch- 
stuffing to garroting, and had not committed murder only 
because they did not believe it good policy. 

I asked one of their number: "What is Mr. 's 

calling ? What does he do for a livelihood ?" 

" He ? Oh, he doesn't do much now. He's in the bui'- 
glary business a little, but it hasn't paid him very well 

The burglary business ! My question-answerer spoke 
as if it were an entirely legitimate avocation, and no 
doubts were to be expressed thereof. 

The sacred seven related their manner of escape at 
different times, which displayed no little ingenuity, and 
rather interested us who had yet so much to accomplish 
in that way. 

They had gone out of the Castle in broad daylight, 
with pens behind their ears and slips of paper in their 
hands ; the guards supposing they were clerks connected 
with the Prison. 

They had sooted their faces, and changed clothes 
,with some of the negroes, and gone out at night to then- 
quarters, whence they could pass over the roof of an out- 
house, and, dropping down into an alley, get away before 
the guard could fire on them. 

They had slipped out behind detectives, pretending 
to be their deputies, and had exhausted their ingenuity 
in their endeavor to deceive the guard. One of them had 


contriyed to obtain a woman' s apparel, and, liabiting him- 
self in it, liad passed the sentinels without exciting sus- 
picion. They had even gotten into empty barrels, and 
been driven out in wagons by the negroes. 

For nearly two weeks we were kept in the cell, during 
which we smoked a great deal, and became exceedingly 
disgusted with ourselves and the world at large. 

How we paced the floor to and fro ! How we wore 
smiles rather sardonic on our lips, and forced every day' s 
bitterness of feeling into our hearts ! How we grew 
skeptical of every one, even our nearest friends, and 
doubted if we had any ! How we scoffed at the ' ' dis- 
interested motives' ' of the great World, and vowed that 
such things as affection and sympathy did not exist out- 
side of the poet' s page. 

We became cynical in spite of ourselves, and reached 
Schopenhauer's plane — hoping nothing, expecting noth- 
ing, caring for nothing. 

Few persons, unless they have had the experience, can 
determine how much a long captivity dries up the heart, 
narrows the mind, and withers all the freshness of exist- 

Shut out from every refining and humanizing influence, 
deprived of the sight of Beauty, of the sense of Fra- 
grance, of the sound of Melody, a man of any imagination 
or sensibility must be uneducated back to a condition of 
spiritual barbarism, and be inoculated with a moroseness 
and skepticism years will not eradicate, nor the assurance 
of love and friendship altogether remove. 

His captivity leaves on his soul the shadow that is 
never lifted, and so rudely shatters frail barks of Hope 


and Beauty, -wMcli erst sailed smoothly on tlie unruffled 
sea of liis Being, that they never dare venture forth in 
the future from the closed harbor of his isolated heart. 

Out of that noisome, repulsive cell went we to our old 
quarters, parting from our fortnight-old companions of 
" Mick-shovers" and "kink-comers" without any agony 
of spirit, that the sumptuous splendor of that most roman- 
tic of Castles, and the deliciousness of its aromatic atmos- 
phere would not soon remove. 

In the Citizens' room, as it was called, we were greeted 
"by those from whom we had been temporarily separated, 
as if we had come out of bondage to freedom ; and indeed 
the old quarters, dreary and disagreeable as they were, 
opened to us on our return with a breath of the far-off 
fragrance of Paradise. 

A brief sketch have I given here of cell-life as expe- 
rienced by us ; and though it presents no very attractive 
picture, it was bright and beautiful as a Claude or 
Poussin, compared to the experience of some other cap- 

Some of the cells of the Libby Prison and Castle 
Thunder were such as we would not think to find in 
the present century. The former were under ground — 
damp, dark and dismal in the extreme, and so unwhole- 
some that I have known officers confined there a week to 
sink under the infliction, and suffer from a serious illness. 
The brutes at the Libby — most conspicuous among whom 
were the Turners — have thrown Union officers into those 
vile cells for accidentally expectorating on the floor, for 
giving a piece of bread to some captive more unfortunate 
than they, and other trivial offenses. 


Wlien officers attempted to escape, or were recaptured 
after escaj)ing, tliey were placed in those subterranean 
dens, and kept there on the smallest and most obnoxious 
rations for weeks, and sometimes months, -^as long gen- 
erally as they could be kept without imminent peril to 
their lives. 

I have known our officers so starved there, that they 
caught rats, and ate them with the greatest relisli ; and 
so broken in health and constitution, that they did not 
recover for months, and will not, some of them, to 
their dying day. 

The Rebels have had a great deal to say since the War, 
of Northern bastiles, but never a word about Southern 
ones. I confess to a much longer and more varied 
acquaintance with the Southern than those at home ; 
but I feel confident such confinement as has been the 
rule in Dixie would not be tolerated in the more liberal 
and enlightened part of the Republic. 

I have again and again seen Union captives come out 
of cells in Richmond pallid and emaciated as consump- 
tive corpses — mere ghosts of men — with mouldy clothes 
and mildewed hair, burning with fever, bent with rheu- 
matism, wasted with dysentery, who had been detained 
in those dungeons with a fiendish malignity, nntil their 
wretched existence held by a single thread. 

At the Castle, too, I liave often been surprised at the 
tenacity with which incarcerated victims clung to their 
frail tenements of clay in the cells and dungeons that 
admitted hardly a ray of light ; too small for the inmates 
either to lie down, or sit, or stand with ease. 

The air of those dens was pestiferous. They reeked 


with filtli and vermin. They would have delighted the 
Doges in the days of Venetian crime and Venetian 
mystery. They would have closed forever the bab- 
bling lips of those who talk of our generous but erring 
brothers — our brave but wayward sisters of the South, 

Brave and generous people cannot be cruel, and 
cruelty was an inextinguishable element in the character 
of most of the Prison authorities of Secessia. They were 
malevolent without pretext, and inhuman without pas- 
sion — an anomaly only to be explained by the enuncia- 
tion of a truth I have long recognized, that "Slavery is 
barbarous, and makes barbarians." 




Contrast between the Castle and Libby. — A Southern Bombastes. — Cruel Treatment 
of Prisoners. — Absurd Charges against Innocent Men. — The Prison a Regulai 
Bastile. — Energetic and Enterprising Captives. — Difficulty of Obtaining Sup- 
plies Sent from the North. — Peculation and Plundering of the Chivalry. — Their 
Begging and Trading Proclivities. — Their Ridiculous Assumptions and Exposure 
— Bohemian Arrivals. — Comparative Comfort of the Correspondents. — Rebel 
Anxiety to Purchase Treasury Notes. — Campaigning vfith the Small-Pox. 

Castle Thunder, tliougli more disagreeable on account 
of the character of its occupants, was preferable, on the 
whole, to the Libby, because there was less tyranny and 
contemptible malice there than at the other Richmond 
Prison. At the Libby we could relieve the tedium of 
captivity by conversation with intelligent and well-bred 
ofl3.cers ; but at the Castle we were forced to depend 
almost entirely on our own society, — Mr. S. T. Bulkley, 
of the Herald^ had been added to the Bohemians, — as our 
fellow-prisoners were for the most part deserters, thieves, 
swindlers, and loyal but ignorant men, far more interest- 
ing abstractly than socially. 

The commandant of the Castle, a regular Bombastes 
Furioso, happened to have some literary pretensions — 
they were purely pretensions — and therefore treated 
journalists with a certain degree of consideration. We 
had privileges fthers had not, and rather congratulated 


ourselves upon our transfer, albeit the Richmond author- 
ities had designed it as an augmented severity 

There, as I have said elsewhere, we first began to put 
in practice our ideas of escape, and, in conjunction with 
others, to dig tunnels, sound guards, enlist negroes in our 
service, and make arrangements, in the event of our 
exodus, for concealment in the city. 

At the Castle we witnessed a great deal of sufiFering ; 
though, from the causes already mentioned, and from the 
fact that while there we received several boxes -of sup- 
plies from the ISTorth, we Bohemians were enabled to 
■make ourselves comparatively comfortable. We were 
in the least bad quarters in the Prison— it was formerly 
a tobacco warehouse and factory — and had gathered 
during our long incarceration a number of such articles 
as are usually considered necessary to housekeeping. 
Compared to those about us we were the purple-robed 
patricians of the place. Generally, we were neither 
hungry nor ragged ; and yet every day we saw poor 
devils so cold in their squalid fragments of attire, that 
they could hardly hold the hard corn-bread doled out 
to them to their pale and wasted lips. 

No Union captive ever received a single garment or 
blanket from the Rebels : he was thrown into the prison 
to shift for himself as best he might. If he froze, they 
cared not ; if he perished, they had only one less Yankee 
to feed. They were as indifferent to the sufferings of the 
prisoners as they would have been to those of the Feejee 
Islanders ; and they made no pretense of sympathy or 

The Southern citizens were treated qnijj as badly as the 


Yankees — even worse, sometimes, I thought — especially 
if they were poor and friendless. Old men, with white 
hair and forms bent with years, were incarcerated there 
on charge of haying given food to their sons, who had 
deserted " from the Army. Others were snatched from 
their homes on vague accusations of disloyalty to the 
so-called Confederacy, and allowed to die there untried 
and unknown. 

A large number of persons were there as spies — ■ 
when the Rebels could trump up no other charge 
against a man, they called him a spy, knowing that 
would hold him for an indefinite period — who had not 
brains, or energy, or courage enough to incur the sus- 
picion of any sane person. They had actually thrown 
into the Castle as a spy, a poor lunatic who had broken 
out of the Jackson (Mississippi) Asylum ; and when I 
went farther South he was still in captivity, with a pros- 
pect of ending his days there. 

It was even reported among the traditions of the Prison 
that blind men had been there as spies, and dumb 
persons on charge of giving information to the enemy ; 
but for those reports I do not vouch. Certainly, how- 
ever, men were there on the most absurd grounds, and 
likely to remain unless they had money or friends. 

There was no assumption of justice in the Castle. 
Any one might perish within its walls from sheer 
neglect, or, once confined there, all trace be lost of him. 
It was indeed a Southern Bastile. Almost everybody in 
Richmond got into the Castle some time or other, prom- 
inent Rebel officers, men, women, and children. 

That it was employed for the most nefarious purposes 


I cannot doulbt. During the reign of General "Winder 
and liis Baltimore plug-ugly Detectives, the grossest 
abuses were practiced. Any man bearing malice against 
a citizen of Richmond had only to trump up some story, 
relate it to a Detective, and, presto, the unfortunate 
found himself in the Castle. As the nature of his oifeuse 
was not stated even to him, he could make no defense, 
and unless some good Rebel outside interested liimself 
in his behalf, his prospects of long imprisonment were 
suriDrisingiy brilliant. 

An old occupant of the Prison assured me that a 
Southern officer, having become enamored of a citizen' s 
wife, breathed some secret suspicion of her husband's 
loyalty to Winder's ruffians, and instantly the iU-starred 
liege-lord was looking at Virginia' s capital through iron 
gratings. The husband removed, the libertine officer 
prosecuted his suit without interruption ; and when the 
former re-obtained his freedom, his wife had become 
openly the mistress of the licentious Major. 

Such instances were not uncommon. The odious lettre 
de cachet was revived. Tlie Castle was made the vehi- 
cle of personal malice and private revenge. 

Tlie commandant, Alexander, was accused of all man- 
ner of debaucheries and cruelties, and arraigned before 
the ' ' Confederate ' ' Congress on the gravest charges. 
iN'othing came of them beyond the removal of the official, 
and the substitution of a much meaner man in his place, 
who, subsequent to our transfer to Salisbury, would not 
allow any of the prisoners to purcliase a particle of food, 
or even a copy of a newspaper. That contemptible piece 
of malice was carried into execution until the fall of 


Riclimoiid, and the inmates of tlie Castle suffered greatly 
from the premeditated cruelty. 

A more energetic set of conspirators, or more enter- 
prising planners of escape, than were at the Castle, I have 
not seen. They were always contriving some means to 
get out, and exhausting ingenuity to that end. They 
dug tunnels enough to undermine the City, and worked 
subterraneously like moles. Whoever wanted to escape, 
.brought himself into sympathy with the Bohemians. 
We were generally in league with most of the villains in 
the Prison, for they were more industrious and auda- 
cious than the honest fellows. Yet were we unsuccess- 
ful in our endeavors for many months, though it seemed 
our activity earlier merited the reward which ultimately 

One night, some ten of the prisoners essayed to escape 
loy digging a tunnel, but were informed upon by a traitor 
in their midst, and their attempt frustrated. They were 
taken before the Commandant, the Bobadil I have men- 
tioned, who, with a pompous and Jupiter-Tonans air, 
thus delivered himself : ' ' There is no use, men, of trying 
to get out of here : it is absolutely impossible ! You can 
make no movement; you cannot breathe; you can not 
have a thought that is unknown to me. You might as 
well attempt to scale Heaven as escape from the Castle ; 
so you had better behave yourselves, and become re- 
signed to your situation." 

The very next night, the harangued captives, with 
twelve others, got out, and were never afterward heard 
of by the Rebels. 

During the latter part of our confinement at the Castle, 



as I liave said, we were the liappy recipients of several 
boxes. To get tliem was a pure piece of good fortune ; 
for the chance of losing any thing sent from the North 
was as ten to one. 

The officer in charge of the Rebel warehouse had 
iinown us at Yicksburg, and was unusually obliging 
to us. As soon as we were advised by letter of a ship- 
ment of supplies, we would obtain permission to visit the 
warehouse under guard, and get hold of our box before 
it was broken open or stolen. 

If a package remained there any number of days, it 
was pretty certain to be pillaged. Hardly any thing 
ever came through unimpaired. The Union officers 
could obtain very little without bribery, and they fre- 
quently offered a quarter and even half the contents of 
a box, to procure the remainder. 

No class of people I have ever met are so susceptible 
to a bribe as the Rebels. From the pompous, swagger- 
ing, pseudo gentleman down to the lackey, they would 
all, like old Trapbois, in the "Fortunes of Nigel," 
do almost any thing for a consideration. They out- 
did the stage Yankees in their fondness for barter- 
ing and exchanging, and talked of swapping and tra- 
ding you out of whatever you had or wore, in a man- 
ner I had not known — often as I have been in New Eng- 
land — to exist, save in histrionic Solomon Swops and 
Solon Shingles. 

They even play the mendicant almost as well as 
professional lazzaroni. You can not have any thing gay 
or striking on your person, any bright color or shining 
metal, but some fellow, who professes to be a gentle- 


man, will ask you, directly or indirectly, to giye it to 

Poor devils ! they have no surplus of attire or adorn- 
ment ; hut one would imagine, with all their pretension, 
they might, during the present century, have learned 
at least the first lesson in good-breeding. 

They are shams in manners, as they are in chivalry, 
hospitality, culture, and every thing else. They are 
brave, of course, because tliey are Americans ; but they 
must even pretend a recklessness of life and a passion 
for death that is not natural to humanity, and assuredly 
not to them more than to any other part of the great 

With all their braggadocio and bombast about perish- 
ing in the last ditch, and dying to the last man, woman, 
and child, they know when they are whipped, as thor- 
oughly and quickly as any other people, and have no 
more natural appetite for cofiins and graveyards than the 
rest of mankind. 

Of course the leaders will fight while they can keep 
a formidable army in the field ; and when they can not, 
they will submit quietly, or run away. 

They have been prating since the War began, as if, in 
the event of their subjugation, which is as certain to take 
place as the sea to ebb, or buds to bloom, they would 
imitate their more generous and chivalrous brothers the 
Japanese, and perform a general hari-kari upon them- 
selves. They won't do any thing of the sort : they can't 
be induced to do it. I wish they could. If they can 
endure the rijDping up, I fancy we can ; and as the mat- 
ter-of-fact individual told the fond mamma, who informed 


him tliat lier daughter was of a very gusMng nature: 
"Let lier gusli, marm !" we can say, with a very com- 
mendable degree of composure, when the insurgent 
leaders adopt self-dissection as a business : ' ' Yon never 
had any bowels of compassion to spare, gentlemen ; bat 
if you are so minded, let them rip." 

Since the above was written, Richmond has fallen, 
and Lee's grand army, which was the main-stay of the 
Rebellion, has crumbled to pieces. Therefore what I 
have said may be regarded in the light of a prediction. 
The Rebels now do know they are whipped, and Jef- 
ferson Davis, his Cabinet, and the principal leaders have 
run away — are at this moment fugitives in the land. 

The power of the great Insurrection is broken. The 
cause of the Secessionists is hopelessly lost, and yet we 
hear of no general hari-kari ; no gratuitous dying of 
women and children ; no perishing in the last ditch. 

It is extremely difficult to write any thing about the 
War, while events are developing so rapidly as they 
have been in the last few weeks. The prophecy of to- 
day becomes the fact of to-morrow. The speculation 
of one hour passes into history the next. 

N"o one can doubt at present, however much he may 
sympathize with the South, that the War, so far as any 
largeness of operations is concerned, is practically over ; 
that the giant of Treason has been laid low. He may 
rave and wrestle in his chains ; he may struggle to rise, 
and may yet do us some injury, but he has ceased to be 
formidable : his power for permanent evil is forever and 
forever gone. 

To return from great to small things, let me go back 


to the Castle, wMcli is now a prison for tlie enemy, and 
not for the loyal who sufiered there so long ; whose suf- 
ferings are more than atoned for by the glory of the 
Present ; the triumph of the Right ; the establishment, 
after four years of sanguinary strife, of the integrity of 
the Republic, and the restoration of the N^ation beyond 
the power of future harm. 

During the month of November, if I remember rightly, 
two more Bohemians were added to our triad, Mr. L. A. 
Hendrick and Mr. George H. Hart, of the 'New York 
Herald. They had been captured by Colonel Mosby, 
while acting as safeguards at the ifouse of a Virginia 
lady, who stated the circumstances, and begged that 
they be released, as justice and honor demanded. Mosby 
said he was compelled to send them to Richmond, but 
assured the lady they would Hot be detained. They 
were kept there for three months, and obtained their 
liberty at last only by securing the services of able 
lawyers, and by the fact that they did not belong to the 

Early in January, 1864, it was proposed by Commis- 
sioner Ould to exchange for them two attaches of the 
Richmond Mnquirer, who had been captured in some 
piratical expedition on the Chesapeake, and who had no 
right to claim the treatment of Correspondents or journal- 
ists. Ould sent Colonel Tyler, the proprietor of TJie 
Enquirer., to them to arrange the exchange — ignoring 
The Tribune writers altogether — informing them if the 
Richmond journalists were not released from irons, in 
which he said they had been put — as they deserved to 
be, I presume — th^t the Southern authorities would be 


compelled to place two of the five Correspondents in tlie 
Castle in a similar position. Mr. Kicliardson and I 
langlied at the one-sided arrangement, knowing that if 
any pair were to he put in irons, it would in all proba- 
bility be ou^rselves, although no opportunity was given 
us for freedom. The irons proved a mere threat, or at 
least there was no excuse for their employment, as Hart 
and Hendrick were paroled, and sent North to obtain the 
release of the Richmond scribes, which they did, al- 
though they had then been prisoners only about one- 
third the tim^ that T7ie Tribune correspondents had. 

Mr. S. T. Bulkleji, also of the Jlerald, was soon after 
released : proving conclusively, were any proof needed, 
that the Richmond officials had no particular animosity 
against War Correspondents, so long as they were not 
members of Horace Greeley' s staff. 

The five Bohemians, while together, were in the same 
mess, of course, and, as they were rather congenial, as- 
sisted each other not a little in relieving the tedium of 
prison life. With the boxes and the books we had re- 
ceived from the ISTorth, we continued to live with com- 
parative comfort. The days of our cooldng and playing 
scullion had passed ; we had assistants there to perform 
menial offices ; and, consequently, we had ample leisure 
for reading and indulging in our favorite amusement of 
whist, in which, from long practice, we attained consider- 
able skill. 

The Castle was lighted with gas, which was burned all 
night when we did not turn it off to hide some attempt to 
escape— so that we could sit up as late as we chose. We 
had nocturnal lunches from our bountiful supplies, and 


often sat oyer coffee, and sardines and preserves, smoking 
our cigars, until the sentinels Ibeneath tlie grated windows 
called the hours of two and three in the morning. 

During no period that we were in captivity, did we of 
Tlie Tribune snbsist beyond a few days at a time on the 
prison rations. Had we been compelled to do so, we 
would have been occupying long since a few feet of the 
sacred soil of Virginia or North Carolina. We would not 
have starved to death positively, perhaps ; but our sys- 
tems would have so run down on the meager and nn- 
wholesome diet that we would have fallen ill, and never 
have gained strength sufficient for restoration. 

Having no expectation of release save through our own 
agency — and that was highly improbable — we always 
looked ahead, and prepared for the coming months. We 
managed almost always to keep in funds, receiving Treas- 
ury Notes secretly in cans of preserves, butter, and books 
sent us in our boxes. We experienced no difficulty in ex- 
changing the Nationalcurrency for Rebel scrip, as there was 
always an active demand for the former in all the prisons to 
which we were consigned, from Yicksburg to Salisbury, at 
rates varying from two to fifteen of their stuff for one of our 
money. The Rebel officers were ever anxious to buy, and 
when they did not do so openly, they employed agents to 
purchase the Yankee issues for them. 

I remember an Israelite wlio had been sent to the Castle 
from Mobile for receiving Treasury Notes for some gar- 
ment ; and no sooner had he gotten inside of tlie Prison 
than a young man employed there entered the Citizens' 
Room, and asked in a loud tone who had any greenbacks 
to sell. The Hebrew opened his eyes in astonishment, and 


declared it " vasli a tarn pretty pisliness to put a slientle- 
mans in such a tarn hole as dat for doing vat de tarn Reb- 
els vash doing demselves. ' ' The clothes-dealer' s enuncia- 
tion was somewhat at fault ; Ibut no one could controvert 
his logic. 

At the Castle we made our first acquaintance in the 
South with the small-pox. We had a great many cases 
in the Prison — a number in the room where we were con- 
fined. In fact, we walked, ate, and slept with it for sev- 
eral months, there as well as in Salisbury, without 
contracting the disease. Persons sufiering from the 
small-pox were permitted to lie in our quarters until they 
had broken out ; but we had no fear of it ; — why should 
a man in a Rebel prison fear any thing ? — and to that, per- 
chance, may be attributed our escape from infection. We 
even administered to those who had been seized, bent 
over them, and inhaled their breath and the contagion 
supposed to emanate from the body ; yet we passed through 
two long campaigns with the obnoxious ailment entirely 

There was a great variety of sickness at the Castle du- 
ring our five months' incarceration, and a number of our 
fellow-prisoners went to the hos]3ital and died ; but I al- 
ways contrived to keep out of the Rebel lazar-houses, in 
the capacity of patient, at least ; and with the exception 
of several desperate flirtations with the fever, I enjoyed 
far better health than I had any reason to expect. Indeed, 
I felt vexed at myself sometimes that I did preserve such 
an enviable hygienic position ; believing no gentleman 
had any right to live in a Southern prison more than a 
month, at the furthest. 




Brief Account of his Antecedents. — His Attachment to the Union Cause. — Hia 
Betrayal. — His Cruel Treatment in Prison. — A Second Judas. — Conviction on 
Palse Evidence. — His Wretched Condition. — The Closing Scene. — An Inhuman 
Detective. — Revolting Spectacle at the G-allows. 

Of the many military murders committed in the South 
since the inception of the War, none have been more 
cruel and revolting than the hanging of Captain Deaton, 
of East Tennessee, in the prison-yard of Castle Thunder, 
Richmond, Yirginia, during the winter of 1864. 

Deaton was a strong Union man in that most loyal part 
of our country, and had been very efficient in resisting 
the encroachments of the Secessionists from the period of 
the earliest troubles. He was a well-built, finely-propor- 
tioned, muscular fellow, in the prime of life and full flush 
of health, intelligent, courageous, determined ; and, as 
m&y be supposed, a most annoying and dangerous per- 
sonage for the Rebels to deal with. 

As the struggle continued, the intensity of feeling in- 
creased in Tennessee, and finally Deaton was compelled 
to leave his home — in Knox County, I believe — and take 
to the bush, as it is technically termed in the South. The 
loyalists were outnumbered by the regular 'forces sent 
into their neighborhood, and were coerced to adopt 
guerrilla warfare as a means of protection. 


Deaton, seeing tlie change in tlie situation, felt tliat 
organization was necessary, and soon raised a company 
of loyal Tennesseans, whom he was chosen to command. 
With these he did effective service, and he soon gained a 
name and fame for his daring and exploits. He was 
desirous of admission into the regular army, but whether 
he succeeded in his purpose, I am unaware. 

The Rebels hated him with exceeding hatred, and, it is 
stated, set a price upon his head. They made every effort 
to ensnare him, but he was too wily for them. He had 
numerous hair-breadth escapes ; was fired upon again and 
again ; his clothes pierced with bullets ; and yet he was 
unharmed. He seemed to bear a charmed life ; but he 
had his unguarded moments, as .all men have, and fell into 
a trap the enemy had prepared for him. 

Like most of the middle and poorer classes of the South, 
Deaton had strong home attachments, and for a number 
of months he had been unable to hear dii-ectly from his 
wife and children, whom he most tenderly loved. His 
foes were aware of that, and sent him word by a person 
whom he deemed trustworthy, that if he would call at a 
certain place on an appointed night, he would obtain news 
of his family. ^ 

Deaton went ; and while in the house, which was sur- 
rounded by armed men, he was surprised before he could 
use his weapons ; bound hand and foot, and thrown into 
a wretched negro-pen. He was charged with all the 
crimes in the calendar, the least of which were arson, 
rape, and murder. But as it was not easy to prove him 
a person with whom Caligula would have been a saint, 
he was accused of being a spy, and kept in a loathsome 


dungeon for four or five months. His liealtli gave way ; 
his constitution was broken ; liis nervous system was 
shattered, and he Ibecame a wreck of himself. The Rebels 
were always threatening him with execution, and for 
many weeks he lived in hourly expectation of being put 
to death. No one was admitted to see him, and he fell 
into a condition of mental imbecility. About that time he 
was transferred to Richmond, where it was thought he 
might be treated with some humanity. Strange mistake ! 
Humanity is not indigenous to the Rebel capital. There 
the meanest, and vilest, and most tyrannical of the insur- 
gents can be ever found. 

At Richmond he was thrown into the condemned cell 
of Castle Thunder ; a cold, dark, noisome, filthy hole, 
next to the room in which my confrere and myself were 
confined, and which we never passed without closing our 
nostrils with our fingers, in lieu of those perfumed hand- 
kerchiefs that ceased to be the mode with us soon after 
our capture. 

Up to that period nothing had been proved against 
Deaton ; but he there unfortunately made a confidant of 
a villain, formerly a Lieutenant in the old United States 
service, who had tried to be a Secessionist, but by his 
vacillations had been suspected and consigned to the 
Castle. The ex-Lieutenant betrayed him of course. The 
morning after he heard Deaton' s story, he asked for an 
interview with the Commandant of the Prison ; and soon 
after the Captain was loaded with irons, and treated 
more cruelly than ever. 

A few days subsequent he was tried by Court-Martial, 
and convicted of being a spy upon what was declared to 


Ibe false evidence. Deaton was then returned to his cell ; 
and I have rarely witnessed a more melancholy spectacle. 
Haggard, emaciated, ragged, almost harefooted, bent as 
with a crushing weight, a strange light in his sunken eye, 
he seemed then more dead than alive. 

We obtained for him two or three times the privilege 
of coming into our room, while the cell was being relieved 
of a portion of its filth, to warm by a poor stove his frozen 
feet. We gave him a seat ; he took it with a vacant stare, 
and crouched over the fire, but spoke no word in answer 
to the tender pity we expressed for him. His mind wan- 
dered : his spirit was broken : long and persistent bar- 
barity had killed in him the gallant and noble Man, 

The fatal Friday came on which poor Deaton was to be 
executed. Certainly it was a hangman's day — dreary, 
lowering, bitter cold. The scafibld was erected in the 
yard adjoining the Prison on the west side ; and into the 
inclosure the unfortunate victim was taken about the 
hour of noon. He was too weak to walk Avithout sup- 
port ; and. he was assisted down the stairs to the ground 
floor. An effort had been made to improve his external 
appearance ; but his better clothes only made him seem 
more wretched. Though the thermometer was little 
above zero, the perspiration stood in drops upon the con- 
demned man' s brow, and a spot of crimson glowed in his 
ghastly cheek. He looked up at the scaffold with a 
leaden gaze, and when asked some question by the at- 
taches of the Castle at his side, made an incoherent reply, 
a muttered mystery. 

Detective Caphart — a gray -haired villain of sixty, who 
lias been known to pay a large price for the privilege of 


hanging a man, and who boasts lie has assisted at the 
death of all the persons executed in Richmond for many 
years — was very active on the occasion, and in the best 
of spirits. Indeed, like the laughing hangman of Louis 
XI., he was only happy at such a time. He pulled the 
Captain rudely about ; cursed him for his dullness ; and 
vented spleen on an unfortunate who had but a few 
minutes to live. Caphart and Warden Wiley hurried 
through the dreadful affair as if it were any ordinary en- 
gagement, and the scoundrel Detective glowered on the 
prisoners, who had been invited to witness the execution, 
as if he regretted very much that he could not perform 
the san^e amiable office for them. 

The estimable twain having borne Deaton to the scaf- 
fold, released their hold of him, and told him to stand up. 
They then descended, and ordered an underling to pull the 
drop. . The fellow had his hand upon the rope, when the 
Captain looked around with a ghastly, half-idiotic smile, 
muttered something, and sat down on the scaffold- Old 
Caphart flew up the scaffold again ; and shaking Deaton 
with great fury, while his cracked and wiry voice poured 

forth curses upon the "d d Yankee son of a ," 

called Wiley again to his assistance. 

Once more Deaton was held up ; and that time he 
turned upon them, and smiled with a soft, sweet expres- 
sion that transfigured his whole face. All the old, unset- 
tled look fled. Courage, love, pity, benison came back 
to Mm. He tried to nerve himself to stand. The officers 
released him — as he seemed to desire. He staggered, and 
he would have fallen. The momentary inspiration passed : 
his head drooped : a half groan, a half sigh escaped him. 


"Hurry, huriy !" cried out Capliart, in his liarsli, "broken 

tones ; "the d d Yankee will die in our arms if you 

don't hang him quick !" 

The drop fell, and the loyal Tennessean was swaying 
in the air, struggling with death, and struggling hard. 

So worn and wasted was he, that the tension of the 
rope was slight. For nearly ten minutes the victim 
writhed and twisted and turned. 

It seemed as if he would never die. The few prisoners 
who had gone down to witness the' tragedy were shocked ; 
and most of them hurried away. 

Caphart alone enjoyed it. He grinned like a fiend, and 
was evidently happy in his way. 

At last the struggles ceased. The sufierings of the 
loyal martyr were over. 

The horror of the scene impressed every one, save the 
gray-haired ruf&an ; and more than one of the Rebel 
officers shuddered and turned pale. 

The bleak wind blew upon the scaffold, and moved the 
strangled corpse. 

A few snow-flakes fell through the frosty atmosphere, 
like scattered rose-leaves on a grave. 

The sun broke through the heavy clouds, and a little 
light streamed down, as if the path were opened, and they 
had parted to let a passing spirit in. 




Our Eemoval from Richmond to Salisbury. — Character of our Companions. — 
Troubles of Transportation. — Strange Scene and Sensation at Petersburg. — 
Arrival at the North Carolina Prison. — Interior Yiew of our Quarters. — A 
Heavy Blow for my Confrere. — The Horrors of Southern Captivity. — Difficulty 
of their Realization. 

On the 2d of February, TJie Tribune correspondents 
were ordered from Riclimond to Salisbury, and long be- 
fore dawn we were standing in Carey Street, in the midst 
of seventy or eighty Rebel deserters and desperadoes 
wearing balls and chains. We were the only Northern- 
ers in the Southern shipment, and, I might say, the only 
persons, save a few straggling Tennessee and Virginia 
Unionists, who would not have picked their father's 
pocket, or sold their grandmother, for a sufficient pecu- 
niary inducement. 

We were not very well attired, and our nine months of 
captivity had not contributed to the elegance of our ap- 
pearance ; but, compared to those about us, we must have 
seemed like robes of velvet upon hovel walls. We had 
a great deal of baggage in the shape of blankets, a box of 
provisions and cooking utensils, two old valises that we 
had purchased in prison ; and even after distributing our 
household goods to some of our retainers, we were fairly 
overburdened with our possessions. We very frequently 


asked ourselves tlie question Mrs. Wragge so patheti- 
cally put to herself : " What shall we do with our things ?" 
and found no small difficulty in practically answering the 
query. The large hox fell to our individual management. 
It was very heavy, and the single pole, run through the 
rope handles, by which we carried it, turned and twisted 
in our hands until they were blistered, and our muscles 
were sore with the weight we bore ; having been com- 
pelled to carry it over a mile at Petersburg, a quarter of 
a mile at Weldon, and three quarters of a mile at Salis- 

At Petersburg we stood for an hour and a half in one 
of the most public streets, near the railway depot, subject 
to the gaze and comment of the masculine and feminine 
passers-by. Rare company was that for a gentleman. I 
should have blushed had I not. been proud — proud to be 
hated by the Rebels — proud that I hated them as well. 

As I stood there, I saw well-dressed men and women 
gaze at that ragged crew with ill-concealed contempt and 
even disgust — I wonder if they were more disgusted than 
I was — and heard them utter denunciations upon ' ' those 
scoundrels" that were just enough in the main. 

Strange thoughts stole through my mind in that public 
thoroughfare. The situation was novel, and the sensa- 
tion somewhat so. I had never fancied before the War 
that I should be a show and a spectacle in an American 
city— one of a crowd of ruffians and villains, from whom 
I could not be discriminated, passing from one prison to 
another — to be leered at by the vulgar and miscompre- 
hended by my peers. 

Neither my confrere nor myself felt humbled even 


tliere, swept away as our individuality was in tliat un- 
wholesome mass of humanity. The earnest conviction of 
what we were, elevated us above our surroundings and 
Ibeyond the Present. We felt self-possessed, haughty, 
fearless. The blood burned in our cheek ; but it was the 
kindling of a defiant soul ; and if any close observer, any 
studier of countenance, had been there, he would have 
descried through the marble of the statue the suppressed 
passion of the sculptor, the repose of Art with the scorn 
of the Real. 

The Richmond authorities had very kindly furnished 
us with a special detective to see that we did not escape. 
We had no idea of doing so on the way, having been led 
to believe Salisbary the best base of operations we could 
find. The detective proved to be a Unionist, and we told 
him frankly we had no intention of leaving him, so that 
he need give himself no trouble on the subject. We could 
have gotten away a number of times en route to Salis- 
bury, and we regretted afterwards we had not done so on 

On the afternoon of the second day we reached Salis- 
bury, and, entering the inclosure of the Penitentiary, were 
warmly greeted by prisoners we had known at the Cas- 
tle, and officers, held like ourselves as hostages, whose 
acquaintance we had made at the Libby. At the Peni- 
tentiary there were Rebel convicts, iN'orthern deserters, 
hostages. Southern Union men, and all persons that the 
enemy designed to hold for a long time. There were then 
but six or seven hundred inmates of the place, which we 
preferred either to the Castle or Libby, because we had 

the privilege of the yard, and had a daily opportunity to 


breathe the external atmosphere, and "behold the over- 
arching sky. 

The quarters in which we were confined were yery 
undesirable, being about ninety by forty feet, with 
barred windows, dirty floor, partially occupied by rude 
bunks, and two broken stoves that gave out no heat, but 
a perpetual smoke of green pine-wood that made the 
atmosphere blue, and caused us to weep as though we 
had lost the dearest mistress of our soul. 

There, with rags and vermin, filth and odors, as little 
Sabean as possible, we passed the long, cold, desolate 
nights, shivering in our light blankets, and striving, for 
many a dreary hour, in vain to sleep. What a dismal 
den it was ! 

Trophonius' famous cave, as described by Pausanias, 
would not have more deeply shadowed the soul of its 
occupant. What ages I seem to have passed there : what 
weary, pangful, endless nights ! 

How cruelly Morpheus deceived me ; hoAv he painted 
to my mental eye the peace and pleasantness of scenes far 
away ! How oft I awoke from dreams of mental magni- 
ficence to the cold, staring, stony walls of that wretched 
abode ! How frequently I was aroused from the fancied 
breath of roses, and the enchanting strain of unseen in- 
struments, and the soft-sweet pressure of lips of balm and 
beauty, by the bite of insects and the tramp of some unfor- 
tunate tatterdemalion upon my fatigued form, steeped in 
half-voluptuous, half- spiritual imaginings, and surren- 
dered quite to precious oblivion of its surroundings ! 

If any place more than another is the antipodes of 
-Poetry, ihat surely was it. 


I see it now, so Ibarren, bleak, and squalid, so associated 
with: the meanest bondage and the most repnlsiye objects ; 
and I wonder any one can have lived there, and preserved 
the least sense of Beauty. 

Rare old den of disorder, disgustfulness, and deformity, 
your form glowers through time and distance like a vision 
of Hades upon the distempered mind of some early Father 
of the superstitious Church ! 

I often wished I could obtain a photograph of that 
room, for I can give no idea of its repulsiveness and 
superlative squalor. A gentleman seemed more out of 
place there than the Angel Gabriel would in a prize-ring, 
or the Pope of Rome at a Five Points dance-house. 

There it was my fellow-journalist, Mr. Richardson, 
first heard of the sudden and altogether unexpected death 
of his wife. 

Ami^ all that meanness and coarseness and desola- 
tion, the heavy blow fell upon, and almost crushed him. 
Heavens ! what a place to be informed of such a grief ; of 
the loss of the nearest and dearest of relations ; of one 
whose life was full of beauty and of promise ! His future 
had been all interwoven with hers ; and when cruel For- 
tune severed two such hearts, in his there must have 
seemed no bright to-morrows. 

Those quarters at Salisbury and their associations, will 
my bereaved friend ever forget them ? Can I even ? 

The antique junk-shop — such it seemed — was fiUed 
with odors of the most obnoxious kind, especially at 
night, from additional agencies that politeness will not 
permit me to name, Yermin swarmed everywhere ; they 
tortured us while we tried to sleep on our coarse blan- 


kets, and kept us in torment when awake. !N^ot a square 
mile of Secessia seemed free from them. 

No light of any kind was furnished us ; and there we 
sat, night after night, in the thick darkness, inhaling the 
foul vapors and the acrid smoke, longing for the morning, 
when we could again catch a glimpse of the "blue beam- 
ing sky. 

Think of that death-life month after month ! Think 
of men of delicate organization, accustomed to ease and 
luxury, of fine taste, and a passionate love of the Beauti- 
ful, without a word of sympathy or a whisper of hope, 
wearing their days out amid such scenes ! 

Not a pleasant sound, nor a sweet odor, nor a vision of 
fairness ever reached them. They were "buried as com- 
pletely as if they lay beneath the ruins of Pompeii or 
Herculaneum. They breathed mechanically, but were 
shut out from all that renders existence endurable^ 

Every sense was shocked perpetually, and yet the 
heart, by a strange inconsistency, kept up its throbs, and 
preserved the physical being of a hundred and fifty 
wretched captives, who, no doubt, often prayed to die. 

Few persons can have any idea of a long imprisonment 
in the South. They usually regard it merely as an ab- 
sence of freedom — as a deprivation of the pleasures and 
excitements of ordinary life. They do not take into con- 
sideration the scant and miserable rations that no one, 
unless he be half famished, can eat ; the necessity of 
going cold and hungry in the wet and wintry season ; the 
constant torture from vermin, of which no care nor pre- 
caution will free you ; tlie total isolation, the supreme 
dreariness, the dreadful monotony, the perpetual turning 


inward of tlie mind upon itself, the self-devouring of the 
heart, week after week, month after month, year after 

Most strange that captives there do not lose their rea- 
son, or die of inanition and despair. How hard it is to 
kill a man, I had not fully learned, until fortune threw 
me into Rebel hands. 

Frequently I thought, in prison, of the suggestive 
words of Glanvil : "Man does not yield to death, nor to 
the angels even, save through the weakness of a con- 
quered will ;" and my spirit seemed to grow stronger and 
control the failing flesh. 

Man must he a brute or a philosopher to bear up 
under all the trials of confinement in Rebeldom ; and I 
wonder now how the stoicism I had so long cultivated 
stood me in that period of most urgent need. 

Much do I marvel that I passed through the ordeal un- 
scathed ; whether I am the same mortal who bore with 
outward calm and uncomplaining fortitude nearly two 
years of Southern captivity. 

Was it my other or my actual self who passed those 
ages of months in Secessia ? I fancy I see myself still in 
Richmond or Salisbury, pacing those filthy floors, and 
that he who dashes the pen across the page is another 
identical form of my developed Qonsciousness. 

More fortunate, as I was, than most of my fellow- 
prisoners, still am I surprised that I did not perish in 
pure self-defense. What motives or purpose had I 
to cling to the Planet? Perhaps, unwittingly, my in- 
stincts held me, and informed me vaguely of the day of 


All that sombre Past appears now like a nightmare 
dream, and this restoration to a free and normal condition 
the glad awakening. The recent realities seem shadows ; 
and yet they were such shadows as struck terror to the 
soul of the tyrant-king. 

While one beholds the vast, throbbing, rusliing life of 
the great, free, enlightened North, he finds it difficult to 
believe but a few days divide him from the meanness 
and misery, the despair and death and horror, that were 
the constant companions of the helpless victims immured 
in the prison-pens of the South. 




Great Influx of Prisoners at Salisbury. — Barbarity of the Enemy. — Intense 
• Suffering and Wholesale Murder of the Captives. — Pen Pictures of the Prison. 

— Agonizing Scenes. — Enlistment of our Soldiers in the Eebel Service. 

— Shuddering Strangeness of the Past. — The Secretary of War Eesponsible for 

the Sacrifice of Ten Thousand Lives. 

Aftee nine months of confinement, at Salisbury, some 
ten thousand enlisted men were sent thither from Rich- 
mond and other points ; and then began a reign of pain 
and horror such as I had not believed could exist in this 
Republic under any ckcumstances. 

Our poor soldiers had been robbed of their blankets, 
overcoats, often their shoes and blouses, and were sent 
there in inclement weather, and turned for some weeks 
into the open inclosure without shelter. 

After a while they were given tents capable of accom- 
modating about half their number ; and there they began 
to sicken and die from cold and hunger — the rations 
being sometimes only a piece of corn bread in forty-eight 
hours, until the daily mortality ranged from twenty-five 
to forty-five per day. 

The soldiers dug holes in the earth and under the dif- 
ferent buildings in the yard, constructed mud huts and 
shelters of baked clay, showing extraordinary energy* 
and industry to shield themselves from wind and storm. 


But their attire was so scant, and tlieir diet so mean and 
meager, that they died necessarily by hundreds. 

Hospital after hospital — "by which I mean "buildings 
with a little straw on the floor, and sometimes without 
any straw or other accommodation — was opened, and the 
poor victims of Rebel barbarity were packed into them 
like sardines in a box. 

The hospitals were generally cold, always dirty and 
without ventilation, being little else than a protection, 
from the weather. 

The patients — ^God bless them, how patient they were ! 
— had no change of clothes, and could not obtain water 
sufficient to wash themselves. 

Nearly all of them suffering from bowel complaints, 
and many too weak to move or be moved, one can im- 
agine to what a state they were soon reduced. 

Tlie air of those slaughter-houses, as the prisoners were 
wont to call them, was overpowering and pestiferous. 
It seemed to strike you like a pestilential force on 
entrance, and the marvel was it did not poison all the 
sources of life at once. 

Imagine nine or ten thousand scantily clad, emaciated, 
woe-begone soldiers — unnamed heroes, who had battled 
for our sacred cause on twenty blood-drenched fields — in 
an inclosure of five or six acres, half of them without 
other shelter than holes they had dug in the earth, or 
under the small buildings employed as hospitals. 

The weather is cold ; perhaps a chilly rain is falling, 
or the ground is covered with snow. There are the 
soldiers — hundreds of them with naked feet, and only 
light blouses or shirts, hungry, feeble, despairing of the 


Present and hopeless of the Future — huddling over a 
small and smoky fire of green wood, in a crowded tent, 
whose very atmosphere is poisonous ; or standing shiver- 
ing against the outside of the chimneys of the squalid 
hospitals, hoping to warm their blood a little from the 
partially heated bricks ; or drawn up in their narrow 
caves, inhaling the curling emanations of the burning 
pine, and striving to shelter themselves from the bitter 
wind ; or begging, with pallid and trembling lips, for 
shelter at the door of those lazar-houses where their com- 
panions in arms are lying in dirt, distress, and despair, 
breathing out their lives at the rate of thirty and forty 
a day. 

Look into those hospitals — strange perversion of the 
name ! — which are small brick and log buildings, twenty- 
five by sixty feet, and see how a people who boast of 
their generosity and chivalry can treat the prisoners they 
have taken in honorable warfare. 

There lie the prisonej,'S, in the scant and tattered 
clothes they were graciously permitted by the Rebels to 
keep, filthy from the impossibility of obtaining water to 
wash themselves, with no beds nor bedding, no covering 
even, perchance without straw ; tossing and groaning 
their miserable lives away. 

Fires blaze at one end, it may be at both ends, of the 
tenements ; but the heat extends not far, and the cold 
wind rushes in from the broken windows and through 
the crevices in the walls ; while the air is mephitic and 
noisome to such a degree, that when you breathe it first 
it is almost suffocating. 

What a ghastly line of faces and of figures ! To have 


seen tliem once is to remember tliem always. Tliey are 
more like skeletons in rags tlian Imman beings. Ever 
and anon some of tliem strive to rise and obey sucli 
calls as Nature makes ; and a. companion, less weak and 
wasted than they, bears them, as if they were children, 
over the dirt-incrusted floor, and lays them down again to 
suffer to the end. 

Here lies a boy of sixteen or seventeen — whose mother, 
in some far-oflf Northern home, is praying for him every 
night and morning ; to whom sisters are writing words 
of cheer and sympathy he will never see — muttering in 
fever, and beckoning with shrunken hands to fonns no 
mortal eye can discover, but which may be waiting to 
bear his brave young spirit home. 

There is a gray-haired man, who left his farm and fire- 
side when the traitorous gun at Sumter woke a world to 
arms. He has passed unscathed through forty battles, 
to die an unrecorded hero here. 

His eyes are fixed, and his minutes are numbered. 
Children and grand-children will look with anxious faces 
at all dispatches and letters from the Army of the Poto- 
mac, but will not learn, for months, the fate of one who 
was only a private. 

"Is this man here?" carefully inquires a soldier, look- 
ing in at the door and reading the address of a letter. 
The answer is in the affirmative, and the ward-master 
calls out, "Mr. , here's a Northern letter for you." 

There is no eagerness to hear. The person addressed 
does not even turn his head. 

Strange, for he has waited many weary weeks to see 
the characters of that well-known hand ; has dreamed 


niglit after niglit, amid the pauses of Ms pain, of reading 
the sweet assurances of his dear wife' s love. 

These are the words : "Dearest Husband: I have not 
heard from you for months, I can not Ibelieve any harm 
has befallen you ; for I have faith that Heaven will re- 
store you to me at once. I feel sure my deep and earnest 
prayers have been answered ; that my affection will be 
as a shield to you, and my fond bosom again be your 

Blessed words ! what would he give if he could behold 
them. Alas ! they have come too late. Her love has 
been lost in a greater love, and the life that is in a life to 

Through all the day and night corpses are carried from 
the hospitals to the dead-house, where the bodies are 
piled up like logs of wood, until the rude cart into which 
they are thrown is driven off with its ghastly freight. 

At any hour one may see men bearing across the in- 
closure the pallid and wasted figure of a soldier, whom 
the Rebels had starved or frozen to death with malice 

There goes into the dead-house a young man who, four 
years ago, was the idol of his circle. 

Possessed of beauty, genius, fortune, friends — all that 
could make Earth sweet — he quitted the attractions of a 
life of ease and a luxurious home, and took up his mus- 
ket that his country might be trulj'- free. 

Not even she who loved him better than a sister, more 
intensely than a mother, would recognize him among the 
heaped up dead. 

The unclosed eye and gaping jaw make that once hand- 


some face hideous to view ; and suffering, and neglect, 
and cruelty, have changed it into a vision of repulsive- 
ness and horror. 

But why seek to paint these scenes which defy descrip- 
tion ? Everywhere is pain, squalor, and horror. 

All day long, one sees wretched, haggard, sick, and 
dying men in every part of the inclosure. Their faces 
tell their story — an unwritten epic in the saddest num- 
bers. Their wasted forms reveal the inhumanity and 
"barbarity of a savage foe. Amid all that assemblage of 
thousands of men, though the sun shines, and the birds 
sing in the groves near by, not a laugh nor a jest is heard 
— not the faintest sound of merrymaking. 

Not a single face relaxes into a smile ; every eye is 
dull with despondency ; every cheek sunken with want ; 
every lip trembling with unuttered pain. 

Disease and Death there hold high carnival, and the 
mirror of misery is held up to every vacant stare. 

The air is heavy with plaints, and prayers, and groans, 
and over that accursed camp hangs the pall of despair. 
Guercino could paint no darker picture. Indeed, no 
limner, no artist in words or colors, could give a just 
idea of tlie scenes of that terrestrial Topliet. 

Suffering everywhere, and no power to relieve it. In 
every tent and hole in the ground, wherever you tread 
or turn, gaunt and ghastly men, perishing by inches, 
glare on you like accusing spectres, until you find j^our- 
self forced to exclaim, "Thank Grod, I am not responsible 
for this!" 

Little, if any thing, could be done for them medically. 
Hunger and exposure could not be remedied by the 


materia medica ; and to seek to heal them, "by ordinary 
means was like endeavoring to animate the grave. 

What advantage had quinine and opium when they 
could get neither bread nor raiment? The sending of 
physicians into the Prison limits was a ghastly farce, for 
the Rebel officers premeditatedly starved and froze our 
brave men, hoping to compel the Grovernment to ex- 
change, or to force the soldiers into the Southern service. 

Hundreds of the privates, anxious to save their lives, 
joined the enemy, trusting to the future to escape. I 
* can not blame them. Who could demand that they 
should await certain destruction in the form of disease, 
and cold, 'and hunger, when relief was offered them even 
by a cruel and barbarous foe? No, I cannot censure 
those who forgot in such fearful hours all but their own 
salvation ; yet I can find no language too strong to praise 
the heroes that stood firm when they seemed deserted by 
their friends, their country, and their God. 

Tlie Rebels, apparently not content with the ravages of 
disease, almost entirely superinduced by starvation and 
cold, fired upon the wretched prisoners whenever the 
humor seized them ; killing and wounding them without 
reason or pretext. "Tlie guards seemed influenced by a 

diabolical spirit, shooting men in their tents, and in holes 


in the ground, seemingly in the merest wantonness. 

No one was safe. Whenever a sentinel felt in tlie 
mood, he would murder a "Yankee" without being 
removed from his post, or even asked why he did it. 
Again, and again, I myself saw soldiers fired upon by the 
guard, and that too when they were transgressing no rule, 
and violating no order whatever. 


My readers may well ask, what motive had the enemy 
for such nefarious crimes ? I can only answer, that I 
have often put that question to myself ; that I am utterly 
at a loss to conceive his motive ; that he seemed actuated 
only hy a fiendish malignity, to maim and murder as 
many Yankees as possible. 

On the 25th of November last, a few of the prisoners, 
perhaps a hundred or two, feeling that their condition was 
entirely desperate ; that they were being deliberately mur- 
dered by starvation and exposure, determined to attempt 
an outbreak ; knowing they could, at the worst, only be 
killed, and that death was almost certain if they remained 
in prison. Such arrangements as were practicable they 
speedily made, without giving any intimation to the 
other captives ; and, about one o'clock in the afternoon, 
fell upon the relief-guard, some twenty in number, when 
they entered the inclosure, and seized their muskets. 

Some of the guard resisted, and a fight occurred, in 
which two of the Rebels were killed and five or six 
wounded, with about the same loss on the part of the 

The alarm was immediately given. The whole garri- 
son mounted the parapet ; and though, in a minute, the 
emeute was suppressed, the efibrt to get out of the gate 
having failed, they began firing indiscriminately upon 
the prisoners, albeit it was evident to the dullest obser- 
ver that the great majority had nothing whatever to do 
with what was called the insurrection. 

The prisoners, seeing they were to be shot down in 
cold blood, took refuge in the tents, behind the outbuild- 
ings and hospitals, and in the caves they had dug. But 


that made no difference. The Rebels discharged two of 
the field-pieces bearing on the camp, and continued firing 
into the tents npon the poor captives, who were trying to 
screen themselves from the murderous balls. 

For fully half an hour the shooting went on, and, in 
that time, some seventy men were killed and wounded, 
not one of whom, I venture to say, had any intimation of 
the outbreak before it was undertaken, and who were as 
guiltless of any attempt at insurrection as infants unborn. 

That was a fair example of the animus of the foe. He 
found a pretext for wholesale slaughter, and availed him- 
self of it to the uttermost. 

Woe to those who are responsible for all that hideous 
suffering ; to the inhuman Rebels who plundered our 
poor soldiers of their clothing, and turned them into that 
filthy pen to die ; who had store-houses full of provi- 
sions, and yet starved their unfortunate captives with a 
fiendish persistency which one must be a believer in 
total depravity to understand ! 

The truth is, the minds of the Southern people have for 
many years been so abused by their leaders and news- 
papers ; their source of information respecting the I^orth 
has been so poisoned ; the feelings, opinions, habits, and 
intentions of the Free States have been so grossly misrep- 
resented, that it is not singular the loyal citizens of the 
Republic should be regarded by those dupes as thieves 
and assassins, barbarians and monsters. 

The Southern people, as a class, have had no means of 
judging of the Northerners, for they rarely traveled, or 
met socially those who had traveled ; and the consequence 
was, they believed whatever absurd and infamous state- 


ments they heard from their demagogues, or read in their 

For at least ten years — twenty-five would be nearer the 
truth — the South has heen carefully and constantly sti- 
mulated and goaded into the bitterest hatred of, and direct 
enmity to, the IS'orth. The Southern leaders had long 
prepared for the overthrow of the Government, and 
believing the time ripe when Mr. Lincoln was elected, 
undertook the aggressive form of treason. 

Secession became a mania. It drove the embracers of 
the doctrine mad. All their worst passions were enkin- 
dled by it, and they swept through four years of agony 
and war to break themselves in pieces at the feet of the 
magnanimous and triumphant Nation. 

Now that I have escaped from that Hades of Salis- 
bury, I marvel how I ever endured to breathe that pesti- 
lential air ; how I continued, week after week and month 
after month, to keep my hold upon that dark point of 
the Planet. 

Truly, it seems like a nightmare dream ; and I can 
hardly realize I ever lived, and walked, and labored, in 
that place of shuddering horrors. 

While I sit writing in an easy-chair, glancing out of 
the 'window at the gay throng of the ever-changing 
Broadway, hear the peals of Trinity and the vast roar of 
the Metropolis, I wonder if I have not been drowsing, 
after reading Poe, and following his ghastly fancies into 
the mystic sphere of sleep. 

It is not real, I think. With all this bustle, and 
energy, and beauty, and plenty, and enlightenment, and 
Christianity about me, it cannot be that a thousand miles 


away hundreds of heroes, who had borne our flag on 
dozens of immortal fields, died every week from the pre- 
meditated cruelty of the Rebels. 

Surely it cannot be, for the Government was aware of 
all the atrocities of Southern prisons : it had heard the 
story over and over again from the lips of sufferers ; and, 
if it had been as was represented, the Government would 
certainly have made some effort to relieve its stanch 
supporters and its brave defenders. 

Alas ! the story is too triie ; it is written in thousands 
of unknown graves, whose occupants, when alive, cried 
to the Government for redress, and yet cried in vain ! 

As soon as Mr. Richardson and myself ' reached our 
lines, we determined to visit Washington even before 
returning to l^ew York, to see what could be done for 
the poor prisoners we had left behind, and determine 
what obstacles there had been in the way of an exchange. 
We were entirely free. We owed nothing to the Rebels 
nor to the Government for our release. We had obtained 
our own liberty, and were very glad of it ; for we be- 
lieved our captives had been so unfairly, not to say 
inhumanly, treated at Washington, that we were unwil- 
ling to be indebted to authorities of that city for our 

We went to Washington — deferring every thing else to 
move in the matter of prisoners — and did what we 
thought most effective for the end we had in view. Du- 
ring our sojourn there, we made it our special business to 
inquire into the causes of the detention of Union pris- 
oners in the South, although it was known they were 
being deliberately starved and frozen by the Rebels. We 



particularly endeavored to learn who was responsible for 
tlie murder — for it was nothing else — of thousands of our 
brave soldiers ; and we did learn. There was hut one 
answer to all our questions ; and that was, Edwin M. 
Stanton, Secretary of War. 

Although he knew the exact condition of affairs in the 
Rebel prisons, he always insisted that we could not 
afford to exchange captives with the South ; that it was 
not policy. Perhaps it was not ; but it was humanity, 
and possibly that is almost as good as policy in other 
eyes than Mr. Stanton's. 

After our departure from Washington, such a storm 
was raised about the Secretary' s ears — such a tremen- 
dous outside feeling was created — that he was compelled 
to make an exchange. 

The greater part of the ]S"orthern prisoners have now 
been released, I believe ; but there was no more reason 
why they should have been paroled or exchanged since 
February than there was ten or twelve months ago. No 
complications, no obstacles had been removed in the 
mean time. Our prisoners might just as well have been 
released a year since as a month since; and if they had 
been, thousands of lives would have been saved to the 
Republic, not to speak of those near and dear ones who 
were materially and spiritually dependent upon them. 

Dreadful responsibility for some one ; and that some 
one, so far as I can learn, is the Secretary of War. I 
hope I may be in error, but I cannot believe I am. If I 
am right. Heaven forgive him ! for the people will not. 
The ghosts of the thousand needlessly sacrificed heroes 
will haunt him to his grave. 




Respect for Tunnels. — Their attractive and absorbing Power. — Tunneling at 
Castle Thunder. — Difficulty of their construction. — The Libby Prison Enter- 
prise. — Uncertainty of their Completion. — Frequency of Excavations at Salis- 
bury. — Desires to Obtain Subterranean Freedom. — Ideal Regrets. 

"Since my incarceration in Rebel Prisons I have had a 
profound respect for the Thames Tunnel ; because, unlike 
those with which I had the fortune to be connected in 
Secessia, it was an established success. 

Well was it for the fame of Brunnell I had no interest 
in his great enterprise, which in that event would, I am 
confident, never have been carried out. 

Tunnels were my thought by day and my dream by 
night for nearly twenty months. 

I was always a large stockholder in some Tunnel con- 
templated, begun, or completed. 

I helped to plan Tunnels ; watched over them ; sat' up 
with them ; crept into them and out of them ; but, alas ! 
never crept through one of them. 

Freedom was in some way associated in my mind with a 

I fancied Adam must have crawled into Paradise 
through a Tunnel. 

A Tunnel to me was the greatest work of Man. 


Dig a Tunnel, and get out of it, appeared the injunction 
of tlie Gods ! 

With attent ear I heard the divine injunction ; and yet 
its latter portion I could not obey. Witness all those 
weary, dreary months, how often and how energetically 
I tried, and only tried to fail ! 

In the Libby Prison the Union officers had no oppor- 
tunity to dig a Tunnel while I was there, their quarters 
being too far removed from mother Earth. But when I 
was removed to Castle Thunder I fell in with a number 
of amateur engineers, who believed the way to Liberty 
lay through the sacred soil of Virginia. 

They so believed, and acted upon their belief. Tunnel 
after Tunnel was made there ; but they were always so 
long in its construction, that it was either exposed by 
traitors, or discovered by the officials. 

It is singular how much the prisoners accomplished 
with slender means. They rarely had more than a case 
knife or an old hinge ; and yet with that they would dig, 
in a few days, a hole large enough to admit the body of a 
man, through ten and even twenty feet of earth. 

The greatest difficulties in the construction of a Tunnel 
are the disposition of the dirt and the lack of fresh air, 
which, as soon as the excavation is carried to a distance, 
very soon becomes exhausted. 

A Tunnel is so old and well-known a means of egress 
from Prison, that the authorities are ever on the alert to 
find one ; and the appearance of any quantity of dirt 
would at once excite suspicion. Hence the greatest pre- 
caution is necessary. Haversacks and small bags are 
brought into requisition, and the dirt is carried, little by 



little, from tlie moiitli of tlie Tunnel to some place wliere 
it will not attract attention. 

Operators usually select some spot where tliey think 
they will not be interrupted, near the outside limits of 
the Prison, and go to work. They toil like beavers, 
laboring often day and night with changes of hands, 
because they feel the danger of delay. I have known 
numerous Tunnels to be discovered because their com- 
pletion had been deferred over a single night. 

At Castle Thunder, by getting down into an old store- 
room below the Court-Martial room, as it was termed, 
one could begin his Tunnel beside the rear wall of 
the Prison, skirting an alley fifteen feet wide ; and as 
few persons went there, the prospect of disturbance was 

The design was to commence digging in the morning, 
and finish it before dawn the following day. That never 
could be accomplished, or at least never was while I 
remained there. If it had been, I should have gotten out 
certainly ; for I frequently sat up watching the progress 
of the subterranean bore, all ready to wake my com- 
panions, and depart at a moment' s notice. 

During the five months I was at the Castle, more than 
a dozen Tunnels must have been constructed, all running 
under the alley mentioned, and designed to come up the 
other side of the fence, out of sight of the sentinels, 
where one could have walked through a military -hospital 
yard to Main-street, and made good his retreat. 

The most extensive and successful Tunnel in the South, 
during my compulsory sojourn there, was that made by 
the officers at the Libby Prison, in the month of February, 


'63, Iby wliicli over one liundred and twenty escaped, 
and some sixty-five got through into our lines. 

Tliere the officers had ample leisure to work, and were 
engaged three or four weeks in the enterprise. They 
removed the bricks of a hearth in a store-room on the 
ground floor, cut through a stone wall two feet thick, and 
then began the Tunnel proper, which was carried some 
fifty or sixty feet into an inclosure, passing the prisoners 
under, and placing them beyond, the beat of the sentinels. 

The officers relieved each other constantly, and con- 
ducted their labor so adroitly that Major Turner had not 
the faintest suspicion of what was going on. 

When so large a number was missed, the morning after 
the escape, the Rebel authorities were nonplused. They 
could not imagine, for an hour, what had become of them. 
They went to the store-room and searched carefully, but 
still could find nothing of the Tunnel ; nor was it till late 
in the afternoon that they made the discovery. 

The nature of Tunnels is such, that the work neces- 
sarily makes slow progress. As soon as they are fairly 
started, and the operator is below the surface, he is com- 
pelled to lie flat on his face, at full length, and, using his 
knife, or whatever implement he may have, he throws the 
dirt behind him, which is gathered up by an assistant, 
and removed in a pan or bag. 

The mole performance is continued day after day until, 
it is supposed the Tunnel is ready to be tapped or 
opened. That is an important matter, and it is requisite 
that the distance be accurately measured. Awkward 
mistakes and needless discoveries have been made b}'' 
neglect of proper precautions in that respect. 

I remember distinctly a Tunnel by which the Corre- 


spondent of tlie Cincinnati Gazette and myself expected 
to escape at Salislbury, during the month of IS'ovember. 
We were assured it would be ready for opening at ten 
o'clock; but after examining it, and sitting up with it 
until after twelve, we concluded there was no hope for it 
that night, and we went disappointed to our bunks. The 
next morning, about daylight, it was tapped, and came 
up nearly two feet this side of the inclosure instead of the 
other side. And, to complete the ill fortune, a Rebel 
officer stepped into it before noon the same day. 

A woman's humor is not more 'uncertain than a 

I never knew any man to make a correct calculation of 
the time of a Tunnel' s completion. But you can always 
conclude, when its engineers declare positively that it 
will be done in two days, that it will still require some 
finishing strokes at the close of a week. Tunnels linger 
longer than rich relatives whom expectant heirs are 
waiting to bury. 

Two or three begun at Salisbury, that were to be com- 
pleted by November 1st, were only half dug in the 
middle of December, 

The truth is, that the operators are so anxious to finish 
a Tunnel that they calculate their capacity for perform- 
ance, even with their wretched implements, by the 
intensity of their desire. 

When we three Bohemians escaped from Salisbury, 
there were four Tunnels completed, and at least seven 
more in a half-finished state. The former would have 
been tapped weeks before, had not some wretches who 
had been interested in them enlisted in the Rebel service, 
and exposed them to the authorities. 


The officers of tlie prison could not find where they 
were located, or exactly where they were to come out ; 
but they placed extra guards at all the points designated, 
so preventing any chance of escape. 

We regretted that greatly, because we preferred to 
pass out of a Tunnel, as we could then have carried with 
us blankets and provisions ; but, going in the way we 
did, we were compelled to travel light. 

I was anxious to realize my long dream, and pass to 
the outer World, from which I had been so long separ- 
ated, by a Tunnel ;* but when I found mj^self fairly free, 
I ceased to mourn that my long-cherished hopes as to the 
means of exit had been blasted. 

A Tunnel is a Tunnel ; but Liberty is Liberty ; and 
the latter is acceptable in any form, while the former 
alone is but an abstraction. 

Possessing Freedom, I have small general regrets that a 
Tunnel did not help me to it ; though in my loftiest 
moods I lament in spirit that a Tunnel, on whose tawny 
bosom I had lain, like a subterranean Antony hanging 
upon an earthy Cleopatra' s liiDS, bore me not to the upper 
air and the blessings of the disenthralled. 

Li my rapt moments of the Future, in my visions of 
the Night, I shall still dwell on the perfidy of Tunnels — 
the Elfridas of excavations. I shall, perhaps, endeavor — 
my mind going back to the dreariness and horror I have 
left behind — to pass out of some Broadway Hotel by 
undermining the Brussels carpet, and carrying out the 
ottoman in an imaginary haversack, and so realize in 
sleep the passionate prompting of Prison hours, distant, 
thank Heaven ! and departed, I trust, forever. 

MUGGING. , 339 



The Meaning of the Term. — ^Who the Muggers were. — Their Plan of Opera- 
tion. — Character of their Victims. — Indifference of the Authorities on the 
Subject. — Flogging of Northern Deserters. — Their Cruel Treatment. — Mugging 
in Richmond and Sahsbury. — Its Reduction to a System. — Our Own Soldiers 
in the Business. — ^A Vigilance Committee proposed. 

Few of our readers wlio liave enjoyed the blessings 
of freedom all tlieir lives will understand the meaning 
of the caption of this chapter, the purpose of which is 
to explain in detail what the term represents. 

Mugging is the argot expression for rohbing, and one 
of the most popular words in the Southern-Prison lexi- 
con. Every place in Secessia where miscellaneous cap- 
tives are held contains its Muggers in abundance. They 
were originally Rebels, but so demoralizing was their 
example, and so extensive their practice, that they added 
quite a number of our own men to their ranks. 

In the Libby, being in the officers' quarters, we saw 
no mugging, although a great deal of it was going on in 
other parts of the Prison ; and after we were removed to 
Castle Thunder and the Salisbury Penitentiary, we were 
daily witnesses of its operations. 

The chief Muggers in every instance were Rebels, — 
natural thieves, born bullies, and thoroughly-developed 
ruffians, — who had lost their liberty by deserting, swin- 


dling, stealing, and violating in various ways the military 
as well as the civil law. A few of them formed the 
nucleus for all the rascals who might lae consigned to the 
Prison from time to time ; and as they were organized, 
they had strength, and large capacity for mischief. 

The Muggers, like most bullies and ruffians, manifested 
a fine discrimination respecting the party they attacked, 
selecting those they thought they could rob with little 
resistance and entire impunity. 

Any person they saw fit to make their victim had small 
chance of escape. They would fall on him at night in 
numbers, throw a blanket over his head, hold him down, 
and rifle his clothes at will, the surrounding darkness 
preventing him from determining who were the robbers. 
If he resisted, he was cruelly beaten, £lnd often was so 
served when he submitted quietly to the plunderers. 

They generally selected some unsophisticated fellow or 
ruralist to "go through," as they termed it, and did it 
most effectually. The unfortunate, at first taken by sur- 
prise, and then terrified by the terrible threats they 
would make in the event of his raising an alarm, would 
permit himself to be robbed without an outward protest 
or murmur ; and in the morning would find himself 
moneyless, coatless, shoeless, and hatless. 

Sometimes I have known men to be completely stripped 
of their clothing, and cruelly belabored beside. Proba- 
bly the victim would not be aware who the Muggers 
were ; and if he did, would be afraid to expose them to 
the authorities, on account of the sanguinary menaces 
promulgated against all informers. 

That honest men should be plundered and beaten by 


scoundrels wlio were notorious, and be prevented loj 
apprehension of physical consequences from giving their 
names, is a hardship, independent of the severity of 
Prison, which must be difficult to endure. The princi- 
pal Muggers were very well known in Richmond and 
Salisbury to the commandants there ; but only in a few 
instances were they punished. 

As the "Yankees" were for the most part the suf- 
ferers, — the Southern captives had little to lose, — perhaps 
the authorities felt no disposition to cast over them the 
mantle of protection. Whatever the cause, they most 
shamefully failed to perform their duty. They said, if 
they could obtain the Muggers' names, they should be 
severely punished ; but made no effort to ferret out the 
perpetrators of the outrages. They could have put a 
stop to the nefarious practice in forty-eight hours, if they 
would have done so, as was shown by the flogging at 
Salisbury of a dozen Northern deserters who had been 
guilty of mugging their own class. 

Captain Gr. W. Alexander, who inflicted the punish- 
ment, refrained from bestowing it upon the Rebel con- 
victs, although they were far worse than our deserters, — 
proving that his conduct arose from passion instead of 
principle. Indeed, he afterwards ordered a number of 
lashes given to the unfortunate deserters because an 
attempt had been made to escape from their quarters, 
and they would not expose the parties who had partici- 
pated in the enterprise. 

That was infamous ; and plainly indicated that Alex- 
ander, who was at heart a brute and bully, — and, if the . 
opinion of his intimates might be trusted, not possessed 


of tliat extraordinary courage to wliicli lie pretended, — 
would have flogged every prisoner at Salisbury, if lie 
liad dared, for the smallest infraction of discipline. The 
deserters had no friends, North or South, and he fell on 
them for that reason. 

Little love have I for our deserters or for Muggers ; 
but when I saw them tied to a whipping-post, and lashed 
with a leather thong by a muscular Sergeant, my blood 
boiled with indignation, and every nerve in my body 

The punishment seemed an insult to the Race, and 
degraded, I thought, all who witnessed it. 

Although Alexander, when he whipped the deserters, 
sent armed soldiers to all the Prison quarters to compel 
attendance in the yard, for the purpose of witnessing the 
revolting spectacle, I always contrived to avoid being 

Years before, my pulses had throbbed and my blood 
leaped to my cheek when I had accidentally seen negroes 
lashed in the South, ^ — thank Heaven, I shall see no more 
of that ignominious brutality in this fair country! — and 
I was in no better frame of mind, years after, to witness 
the beating of members of the Caucasian family. 

When the mugging continued ; when old and innocent 
men were pounded so severely that they could not be 
removed from the hospital for weeks, merely because 
they were unwilling to be robbed of what served for 
their physical salvation ; when, night after night, the 
most brutal assaults were made by the worst of rufiians 
upon all who had any thing to lose, I changed my opinion 
somewhat ; concluding that if whipping were the only 


remedy for mugging, — wliicli I did not "believe,— it ougTit 
to be well laid on. 

Our deserters I rather pitied, when I found they were 
made the scapegoats for others' offenses ; that the Rebels 
took advantage of their position to treat them with unde- 
served harshness. Who ever heard of a people, unless 
they were "chivalrous," imprisoning and persecuting 
the soldiers who, they were bound to suppose, had fled 
from our Army to theirs out of sympathy with the 
Southern cause*? 

At Castle Thunder, in Richmond, the Mugging was 
mainly confined to two of the rooms of the Prison, one 
of them immediately above the apartment in which I was 

Almost nightly a rush would be made on the floor 
above; several bodies would be heard to fall; perhaps 
a loud outcry, with "murder, murder, murder" attach- 
ments ; then a heavy struggle and a general confusion, 
followed by a return of quietude. 

Those were the mugging demonstrations, and rarely 
attracted any attention. 

In the morning, several new men would report that 
they had been robbed and beaten ; though they would be 
entirely ignorant of the perpetrators, as the assault had 
been committed in the darkness. 

]S"o investigation would be made, no inquiry estab- 
lished. The whole thing would be taken as a matter 
of course, and repeated as soon as any fresh subjects 
presented themselves. 

At the Penitentiary in Salisbury, Mugging was reduced 
to a system. 


Men were frequently mugged in the Prison-yard. Sev- 
eral of the band would gather round the intended victim, 
who on a sudden would be thrown to the ground ; his 
pockets turned inside out ; his coat and hat, sometimes 
his shoes, taken ; after which he would be let alone until 
he obtained more money or clothes to invite a fi'esh 

The Rebel room, in the third story, where the convicts 
were confined, was the principal field for mugging. The 
wildest cries of pain and terror emanated from that quar- 
ter every night or two ; and daylight would reveal some 
poor fellow with black eyes, swelled lip, and badly cut 
face, deprived of all his valuables and a large portion of 
his clothes. 

The Rebels would be abroad at an early hour, 'and 
dispose of their stolen goods to some of the guards who 
were in league with them ; thus removing all traces of 
the theft. 

Complaint, as I have said, proved of no avail. 

The authorities would return the stereotyped answer : 
Point out the men a^^Iio robbed you, and they shall be 

The victims, even if they knew the thieves, were afraid 
to give the names, knowing they would be beaten half 
to death as soon as they were shut up again with the 

So far as my observation extended, the ofiicers of the 
Prison seemed to favor the most notorious scoundrels of 
the place, provided they were on their side. They re- 
served their wrath for the JSTorthern deserters, who soon 
became weary of the mugging business, from the fact 


that they were made to answer for the sins of all the 
other thieves without reaping any fair proportion of the 
ill-gotten gains. 

No attempt was ever made to mug either my confrere 
or myself, although we frequently anticipated and pre- 
pared ourselves for an attack, in conjunction with some 
more muscular allies, offensive and defensive. 

Frequently we lay down with clubs under our heads, 
and slept, as the phrase is, with one eye open. 

Am^ble as we were by nature, the constant repeti- 
tion of such outrages made us feel a trifle bellicose ; and 
we concluded, if we were mugged, we would endeavor 
to give the muggers something to show for it. 

Well perhaps for our expectations and our physical 
condition, the experiment was never tried on us. We 
were not sorry, for we did not regard it as an experience 
we particularly needed. 

When the nine or ten thousand Union soldiers were 
sent to Salisbury, many of the most worthless formed a 
league with the Rebels, and the two forces carried mat- 
ters with a high hand up to the time of our escape. Rob- 
beries continually occurred. Men were stabbed, and 
their, skulls cracked ; some thrown out of the windows, 
and their necks broken ; but the authorities in no manner 

The better class of prisoners talked seriously of insti- 
tuting a "Vigilance Committee," and hanging some of 
the principal Muggers, as had been done at Anderson- 
ville, Georgia, a few months before — by the by, four of 
the individuals executed there had gone from Salisbury, 
where they had been held as deserters, — but no definite 


plan of action had. been agreed upon at tlie period of our 

Justice, which had long slumbered at Salisbury, fell, 
I fear, into a sleep too deep for waking. 




Constant Effort of Prisoners for Freedom. — Practicability versus Planning. — 
A Trio of Desperadoes. — Cause of their Extraordinary Gayety. — Their Eemarli- 
able Exodus. 

In Prison, the inmates think and talk of little "beside 

To them, freedom is everything ; all else, nothing. 

By day and night they revolve one plan and another 
in their mind ; hope and despond ; try and are frustrated ; 
attempt and are punished. Yet they return to their 
favorite idea, and endeavor and re-endeavor, though 
failure ever follows. Dungeons and bayonets have little 
restraining influence. 

Few men who will not brave the possibilities of death, 
when freedom beckons, and they are encircled by the 
horrors of a Rebel Prison. 

How well I remember the numerous trials and failures 
of my confrere and myself to escape ! It seemed as if 
we never could get out. Our genius, we thought, did 
not lie in that direction. Our plans were elaborate, and 
so were our preparations. We speculated constantly on 
what we might do ; talked of the feasible in our blankets 
far into the night, amid the pulsings of the stars and the 
ravages of insects. 

While we theorized grandly, some dull fellow, with 



only one idea, but that in the right direction, got out, 
and brought us, with our fine reasoning and subtile calcu- 
lations, to overwhelming shame. 

Was the fault with us, or with the Gods ? 

It matters not now, for at last the Gods were kind. 

While- at Castle Thunder, we were taught what enter- 
prise and nerve will accomplish. 

Three prisoners on capital charges were in the con- 
demned cell, heavily ironed. They were desperate fel- 
lows, no doubt, and endured their situations very 
cheerfully — laughing, singing, and howling in the most 
uproarious style. 

Their gayety seemed to increase daily ; for they soon 
began dancing in theu" chains, and dropping their iron 
balls on the floor as if sporting with their misfortunes. 

This latter entertainment they kept up so regularly, I 
began to suspect there was meaning in it, and that it 
covered a design. 

Nor was I mistaken, as the sequel proved. 

About two o'clock we heard a row and a rush below; 
the discharge of several muskets, and the general indica- 
tions of a disturbance. We could learn nothing then ; 
but after breakfast, — the eating of a piece of corn-bread, 
the throwing away of a bit of fat, rancid bacon, and the 
swallowing of a cup of water, was so denominated in the 
Castle, — we were apprised of the adventure of the tur- 
bulent trio. 

It appears they had made all the. noise to drown the 
sawing through of the floor which was over g, store-room ; 
and at an hour of the night or morning when the sentinels 
were apt to be -careless, they took up a part of the 


Iboards, and slowly and silently slipped into the nnder 
apartment, having let themselves down Iby strips of a 
blanket they had torn up for that purpose. 

The enterprising scoundrels then quietly forced open a 
window into a passage leading to the street door of the 
Prison ; and in the shadow of that quarter seized three 
muskets placed against the wall on racks. They then 
rushed upon the guard nearest them, and struck him 
with the l)utt of the piece, knocking him senseless over 
an iron railing that ran across the passage. 

The outer sentinel saw this movement, and prepared 
for it, "bringing his gun to the position of a charge. He 
had mistaken his men, if he supposed that would stop 
them. They dashed upon him, and he was just on the 
point of firing, when the nearest prisoner discharged the 
contents of his musket into the breast of the guard, liter- 
ally tearing his breast to j)ieces, and of course killing 
him instantly. 

They then ran into the street, past the outer sentinels, 
who were too much surprised to act, and who forgot to 
use their muskets until too late. The fugitives were 
nearly to Seventeenth street, when the Rebels gave a 
dropping fire as harmless as it was useless. The alarm 
was given, and the garrison of the Prison beaten to arms, 
but no traces of the bold prisoners could be found. 
Where they went, how they went, and by what route, 
was never known ; but a week or ten days after, their 
arrival at Fortress Monroe was publicly announced. 

They had- gallantly earned their freedom, and I hope 
they enjoyed it more honestly and worthily than I fear 
they did before they became inmates of the Castle. 




Cause of Bushwhackers. — Repulsiveness of the Custom. — Its Excuse. — Their 
Sufferings and "Wrongs. — CoUisions with Home-Guards. — Victories of Union 
Men. — Terror of their Name. — The Vendetta in the Mountains. — Virtues of 
the Southern Royalists. — "War of Extermination. — A Fearful Avenger. 

Bushwhackers are peculiar features of tliis War, wMcli 
indeed gave them birth. So much has "been said, and so 
little is known, of them, that a chapter on their life, man- 
ners, and habits, cannot be out of place in a volume like 
this. During my long march from Salisbury to Straw- 
berry Plains, I had abundance of opportunities to make 
their acquaintance, learn their history, and observe their 

This great struggle has made Bushwhackers on both 
sides ; but it is of the Union class I propose to speak. 
They are confined to the Border States, or to those sec- 
tions where political feeling is greatly divided ; where 
military power has usurped the right of the people, and 
compelled them to resist aggression by the most stealthy 
and deadly means. 

It is difiicult for an honorable or a courageous man, 
who has seen aught of military life, to endure, much less 
sanction, bushwhacking. All one' s instincts revolt at it. 
It is slaughter without any of the palliating circumstances 
of hot blood, generous passion, struggle for principle. 


It is treacherous, coldly calculating, brutal ; and yet, 
believing all that, I cannot find it in my heart to blame 
many of the men who resort to it in the mountainous 
regions of North Carolina and Tennessee. 

They were quiet, peaceable, industrious, loyal ; opposed 
to the doctrine of Secession, and all its attendant heresies ; 
the natural antagonists of the Slaveholders ; lovers of the 
Union for the Union's sake, and regarded as an enemy 
whoever would seek its destruction. 

When the Rebels brought on the War, those loyalists 
held themselves aloof, determined to take no part in it 
unless on the side of the Republic. 

The contest continued, and the Conscription Act was 
passed. Then those innocent and patriotic citi2;ens were 
forced either to enter the insurgent army or run away ; 
leaving their property and wives and children — all they 
held most dear — behind them, and seek some new locality 
that, to their slender observation and limited knowledge, 
appeared like another sphere. 

Domestic by nature and habits, they were unwilling to 
quit their firesides and the few acres that had been and 
were their World. They would rather die than surrender 
all they valued in life. Yet they could not stay at home. 
If not carried off to the army, they were hunted, harried, 
persecuted ; driven into the woods and mountains like 
wild beasts. Frequently they were killed or wounded 
by the Home-Guards ; oftener captured and sent bound 
to Richmond, where they were put into the field. 

At the earliest opportunity they would desert, of course, 
and return to their humble dwellings. Then would begin 
the persecution anew. They had forfeited their lives by 


desertion. Whenever tlie Guard saw them, they would be 
fired on. 

It is not difficult to conceive how a few months of such 
experience would transform a man from an enduring saint 
to an aggressive demon. 

Amiable, gentle, merciful at first, the process by which 
they were transformed into Bushwhackers rendered them 
vicious, passionate, bloodthirsty. They were coerced to 
live in caves, or pits dug in the earth ; and wliile they 
were absent, the Guards or Rebel cavalry would visit the 
houses of the fugitives, and steal whatever could be 
found. The wives and children of the Unionists were 
robbed of horses, mules, and even personal attire and 
small sums of money — all because they were loyal. In 
addition to that, they were occasionally abused corpo- 
really. Terrible thi-eats were made against them unless 
they disclosed where certain property or articles were 
concealed. Their barns and even dwellings were burned 
down ; and in many instances Bushwhackers have found 
only smouldering embers or a heap of ashes where they 
looked for a pleasant home. 

In North Carolina and Tennessee I met men who had 
not slept under their own roof for two and even, three 
years. All that time they had been "lying out," as it is 
termed. When there was no danger, they would go to 
their houses for an hour or two, but would not venture 
to remain there overnight. 

If the Home-Guards were in the neighborhood, or 
approaching, word was sent immediately to the Bush- 
whackers, or some signal given which was understood. 
Horns would be blown, cowbells rung, peculiar cries 


given, and in less tliau a minute all the Busliwliackers 
in the neighborhood would be on the wing towards 
mountain-tops, caves, or some secure hiding-place. 

In the Union settlements, every one is trained to be a 
messenger. The children of ten and twelve years, if they 
see persons resembling the Guards or Rebel cavalry, 
bear the tidings at full speed to the nearest house, and 
so the intelligence is spread far and wide. 

If there be any number of Unionists compared to the 
Rebels, the former give them battle ; and so often have 
they proved victorious, that the latter shrink from an 
engagement unless in greatly superior force. Those 
small fights are of common occurrence, and I encoun- 
tered many families who had lost near relatives in such 

When the Rebels pass through a section of country 
favorable to bushwhacking, the persecuted loyalists 
profit by the opportunity of revenge to the fullest extent. 
All may be quiet, and outwardly peaceful ; the enemy 
will be walking or riding down a mountain-road, or 
through a gap, or past a thicket of laurel, when half a 
dozen rifles wiU crack, and perhaps two or three of his shot dead or wounded. 

All men, however brave, have a natural dread of being 
attacked by a concealed foe. It is like stabbing in the 
dark. The mystery and uncertainty of the character and 
strength of the assailant lend a horror to the surprise ; 
and well disciplined must be the courage and firm the 
nerves which do not take refuge in flight. 

The Bushwhackers have not infrequently frightened 
away thrice their number. Many of them have Spencer, 


Henry, and other carbines, which discharge from six to 
sixteen times without reloading, giving the party attacked 
a very vivid idea of the strength of the attackers. 

In Wilkes County, North Carolina, twelve determined 
Union men have compelled from seventy to a hundred 
Guards to flight. And in Carter County, Tennessee, they 
tell a story of a declaration by the "Confederates" that 
those tories (meaning loyalists) have guns they can wind 
, up Sunday morning, and fire all the week. 

Of course, the Bushwhackers are held in great dread. 
The Rebel cavalry are in perpetual fear of them, and 
never pass a turn in the road, or by a sheltering rock, or 
a heavy undergrowth, without extreme caution. The 
breaking of a twig alarms, and the projection of a branch 
startles them. Where there is so much fear, there must 
be a corresponding hatred. Alas, for the poor Bush- 
whacker who falls into Rebel hands ! Short will be his 
shriving, and speedy his exit from the Planet. His cap- 
ture is synonymous with his execution. He is shot 
through the head as coolly as a bullock would be, and 
probably before the week is over, his executioner is a 
corpse also. 

The war in the mountainous regions of the two States 
I have mentioned is a war of extermination, and has 
already become a kind of Vendetta. Oaths of vengeance 
are sworn against those who have killed relatives and 
friends, and the oaths are most bloodily kept. A son 
shoots a father, and the son of that father shoots the 
father of the first son. One brother kills another brother 
in an adjacent family, and in turn loses his brother by 
violence. These feuds are handed down season after 


season, and year after year, as in the medieval time. 
Life is paid with life, and death answers to death. 

I remember meeting in Castle Thnnder, Richmond, Vir- 
ginia, two Tennesseans who had vowed revenge npon cer- 
tain parties in their section. They obtained their freedom 
long before I did ; and when I passed through the 
neighborhood where the former captives resided, they 
had redeemed their word. The men who had wronged 
them had ceased to live. They were killed in their own 

In Western !Nortli Carolina, particularly in Wilkes and 
Watauga, and in the northern counties of East Tennessee, 
few prisoners are taken. The black flag is ever raised 
there. No quarter is given or asked by the inhabitants ; 
and the escaped prisoners who travel in that quarter, 
understand that "liberty or death" is no mere figure of 
speech, but a dreadful reality. 

Everywhere we were told if we were captured that we 
would be pushed oif the precipice of Time very sum- 
marily, and doubtless we would have been. Had we 
not succeeded in our search after liberty, no one, I pre- 
sume, would have ever known our fate. Our bones 
would have whitened on some mountain-side ; and 
though it would have been unpleasant at the time, 
we would have rested as peacefully there as under a 
marble shaft in G-reenwood. 

One would expect to find the Bushwhackers fierce, 
cruel men ; yet many of them are quiet, though deter- 
mined — warm-hearted, but excitable. Their peculiar life 
has quickened all their senses, and perpetual anxiety 
and frequent alarm have given them a certain wild 


expression of face, especially of tlie eye, tliat Ibelongs to 
hunted men. They are as much attached to ISTortherners, 
as they are opposed to the Rebels. They received us 
with kindness, and even welcomed us to their homely 
fare. They piloted us in many places, and would have 
protected us at the risk of their lives. 

When we had crossed the Yadkin, and were within 
twenty miles of the Blue Ridge, a party of Bushwhackers 
informed us we could not get over on account of the 
snow ; that we would he tracked and murdered. After 
learning that, we thought seriously of waiting where we 
were, even until Summer, if necessary, and the generous 
fellows, poor as they were, offered to take us to their 
dwellings, and provide for us as best they could. 

In Johnson County, Tennessee, we encountered a bevy 
of Bushwhackers of the most recldess character. One 
day, while lying in a barn, we heard a tremendous 
yelling, and soon discovered that it proceeded from three 
of the fraternity. Instead of remaining concealed, they 
were using their lungs to the utmost to attract attention. 
They defied the Rebels, and as they were armed to the 
teeth, they would have j)roved formidable foes. 

One of the trio, known as Canada Gruy, was a type of 
the most savage class. He had been arrested as a Bush- 
whacker nearly tAvo years before ; was sent to Richmond 
to be tried for several murders ; and yet contrived to 
deceive the authorities to such an extent that he was 
transferred to Belle Isle as a prisoner of war, and ex- 
changed soon after. 

Reaching Annapolis, Guy told the Provost-Marshal 
he wished to resume operations in Tennessee. The Pro- 


vost gave liim a certain sum of money, and Ibade Mm go 
on liis way rejoicing. 

Guy, on his return, liad many old scores to wipe off ; 
and the sole erasive compound he knew was blood. In 
less fhan six months he killed seven men, all bitter 
Secessionists, and vowed he would not forego the pleas- 
ure of killing more of the number for any consideration 
on earth. 

N"o wonder he was ferocious. The Rebels hanged his 
father, some sixty years old, because he would be loyal 
in spite of threats, and shot four of his brothers. ' ' But 
I'll be even with them," he exclaimed; "I'll kill at 
least twenty for every one of my kinsmen." He bids 
fair to keep his word. He delights in exterminating the 
Secessionists, and his glee is almost fiendish at times. 

I could not sympathize with or like such a man, though 
I doubt not his wrongs had rendered him the reckless, 
bloodthirsty creature he was. Guy believed religiously 
that no Rebel had any right -to property or life ; so he 
robbed the enemy wherever found, and was only too 
desirous of generating a difficulty that would give him a 
pretext for adding another to his list of victims. 

To the Bushwhackers I am indebted for many Idnd- 
nesses which I shall not forget. I found in them virtues 
that are rare in civilization, and p)Ossibilities of far better 
things. They have been compelled in self-defence to 
take the course they have ; and I am not at all sure that 
many of us who have loftier aims, and larger culture, 
and higher instincts, would not do worse if we had been 
so foully wronged as those hardy and naturally humane 




Our Efforts Useless in the Salisbury Hospital. — Bohemian Talent for Forgery. — 
Mode of our Exodus from the Penitentiary. — Sensations of Freedom. — Our 
First Night in a Barn. — A Long Fast. — A Rebel Officer Sound on the Main 
Question. — Commencement of the Journey toward Liberty. — Our First Two 
Nights' March. — Hunger, Cold, and Exhaustion. — Our Assistance from the 

Two of my journalistic friends and myself, as soon as 
tlie large influx of Union soldiers had been made into the 
Prison, entered the hospitals, hoping to be of some ser- 
vice to the sick. We found the task extremely difficult, 
because there was no co-operation on the part of the au- 
thorities ; and the longer we remained, although we 
worked very hard, the more fruitless we perceived our 
labor. We concluded, therefore, to try another plan of es- 
cape. We had been very industrious in that way, for 
months, at Salisbury, but had met with our old ill-fortune. 
The tunnels in which we had been interested had been ex- 
posed ; the schemes we had formed had been frustrated ; 
the agencies on which we had depended failed in the mo- 
ment of need. We resolved thereafter to trust only Fortune 
and ourselves, and we prepared to make our exodus on 
the evening of Sunday, December 18. 

Two' of us Bohemians — Mr. William E. Davis, of the 


Cincianatti Gazette^ and myself — liad passes to the Relbel 
hospital, outside of the first inclosure and the first line of 
guards, and we spent an hour of Saturday night in forg- 
ing a pass for my associate of Tlie Tribune. 

It was my first essay in that department of the Fine 
Arts, and I congratulated myself I had done well ; nor 
was I without a lingering suspicion that if my talents in 
that direction had been properly developed, I might have 
"been a rival of Monroe Edwards. There was this differ- 
ence, however, in his chirographical experiments and 
mine : his resulted in getting him into, while mine were 
designed to get a friend out of, a Penitentiary. 

Our graphical labors went for naught. 

My confrere, the following morning, concluded it would 
be wiser to use my genuine pass, and let me trust to going 
by the sentinel without any. We agreed to that ; and so, 
a little before dusk, the night promising to be dark and 
stormy, two of us went out to the Rebel hospital, to wait 
for the development of events. 

Mr. Richardson took a box employed for carrying medi- 
cines, and, filling it with empty bottles, walked boldly 
up to the guard, who stopped him, and asked if he had a 

"Certainly," was the reply ; "you have seen it often 
enough ; have you not ?" 

" I do not remember," responded the Rebel. " Let me 
look at it." 

It was handed him, and, after scrutinizing it carefully, 
he returned it to Mr. Richardson, with the remark that it 
was " all right." 

My confrere walked out, and met, in the second inclo- 


sure, tlie Adjutant of the garrison and a paroled Rebel con- 
vict, both of whom knew him intimately. 

Feeling that assurance alone would prevent suspicion, 
he accosted them both, exchanged some ordinary remarks 
about the weather, and pasged on. 

A fourth prisoner, Thomas E. Wolfe, captain of a mer- 
chant vessel taken by the Rebels off the Balize — who 
also had a pass, and, just before we started, had concluded 
to try the adventure with us — was looking on, determined, 
if Mr. Richardson failed, to notify Mr. Davis and myself, 
that we might be off before the whole plan was apparent. 

Richardson's coolness had disarmed suspicion. He 
Avalked quietly to a vacant office at the end of the hos- 
pital, placed his box and bottles therein, and moved leis- 
urely by the guards, who were on the parapet at his right, 
to a small out-house, into which he stepped for conceal- 
ment until it became darker. 

Having loitered about the hospital as long as it seemed 
prudent, I walked by the guards — who supposed, no 
doubt, _ we belonged to the garrison — to the outhouse in 

There I talked with Richardson in a low tone of voice, 
and agreed, as it was quite dusk, to go out to the gate in 
the fence skirting the road, and which was unguarded ; 
and, if I were discovered, to return to the hospital. If I 
continued on, he was to follow. 

I started, and just as I put my hand on the bar of the 
gate, to force it open, I felt it move from the other side. 

Our old ill-fortune, I thought. We are discovered, and 
our hope of freedom once more blighted. 

The gate opened, and I was vastly relieved to see Mr. 


Dayis, of the Gazette^ and tlie Captain. They believed it 
hardly dark enough ; but I pushed on across a small 
bridge over the railway ; having told them I would meet 
them at the appointed place, on a public road about a 
quarter of a mile from the Prison. 

Richardson followed, and in half an hour we were all 
four together, lying down in the rain in a fence corner. 

While there, a man crossed the field, and walked so 
near us that we thought he would step on us. We held 
our breath, and heard our hearts beat, as we had so often 
done before, believing we must be discovered. He con- 
jectured not our presence, however, and walked off into 
the thick and all-enshrouding darkness. 

In another hour we had crawled into a barn, and were 
lying under the straw and fodder, waiting for the next 
night, when a Union man had agreed to procure us a 
guide, of whom we stood in great need, as not one of our 
party had any knowledge of woodcraft, or of the country 
we had to travel through. 

Long shall I remember the fresh, free air that greeted 
me like a benison when I stepped out of the Prison limits 
on that murky, rainy evening. The old worn-out feeling, 
the inertia, the sense of suppression, seemed to fall from 
me as a cast-off garment ; and I believed I could walk 
to the ends of the Earth, if I could but find the sweet 
goddess of Liberty — dearest and best of women — at the 
end of my long, long journeying. 

To the barn, in which we lay concealed, we were aware 
a number of small negroes came every few hours of the 
day ; and it was therefore necessary for us to keep very 
still lest they should discover and betray us, not from 


perfidy, but througli indiscretion. We covered ourselves 
entirely over with tlie fodder, and never spoke a word 
above our breath. 

We were in sight of the grim and cruel Prffeon where 
we had passed almost eleven months of anxfety and 
agony, and we, had, you may imagine, a most whole- 
some horror of being taken back there before we had 
fairly started on our travels. 

From the time we escaped, on Sunday evening, until 
Monday night, we had not a drop of water, and we had 
no food, save a few broken mouthfuls, from Sunday noon 
until Tuesday evening. 

Yet we did not seem to suffer. Our ardor for freedom 
was such that it displaced all other desires, even those of 
a physical nature. We hardly knew we were thii'sty 
until a Captain in the Rebel service gave us a canteen of 
water, after we quitted the barn. He had been several 
times wounded, having fought througli nearly all the 
great battles in Virginia ; and yet was a Union man at 
heart. In our presence he anathematized the Rebels, and 
expressed the pious wish that they were all plunged so 
deep in a certain igneous region that even the Petro 
leum-seekers could not reach them. We had become 
acquainted with him while in Prison, and knew, when we 
got out, we could depend upon such aid as it was in his 
power to give us. ' 

It no doubt seems anomalous that loyal men should be 
in the Southern armies, and fight for a cause in which they 
do not believe. Yet the instance of our friend the Cap- 
tain was one of many. 

Hundreds of persons, at the beginning of the troubles, 


rushed into the War, believing it would be only a kind of 
parade of arms, with perhaps a few skirmishes, followed by 
a recognition of the independence of the "Confederacy." 

How fearfully they were deceived, let the mourn- 
ing in every Southern home, and the countless graves in 
every insurgent State, from Virginia to Texas, testify in 
terror and in tears! Four years of devastating conflict 
have taught them the great issues at stake, and the hope- 
lessness of the struggle ; the weakness and the woe, the 
crime and penalty of Slavery ; and the day has dawned 
at last, when the South will, for the first time, be truly 

To resume : after leaving the barn and repairing to the 
place appointed, we met the Lieutenant of militia I have 
mentioned, and waited for the guide who, he said, would 
soon be along. An hour or more passed, and the guide 
coming not, we concluded he had already gone on, or had 
failed to redeem his promise, and set out upon our jour- 
ney, with Wilkes County as an objective point, where a 
number of relatives of the Lieutenant resided, and who, 
he assured us, would welcome us with warm and loyal 

We went at a rapid pace through two miles of mud from 
six to twelve inches deep, almost losing our boots often in 
the adhesive loam, the blood bounding in our veins, and 
the perspiration starting through our pores, until we 
reached the Statesville and Morganton Railway, which 
we proposed to follow for at least twenty-five miles, and 
then strike a more ITortherly direction. 

We had not gone more than three miles before we 
espied a camp and a fire before it, and, thinking they 


364 rouK YEAES m secessia. 

might "be pickets, we concluded to flank the locality, and 
did so, Ibut not without much difficulty. We made a 
wide circuit through the woods, and as the night was 
very dark, we fell over logs and stumps ; got into thorn- 
buslies and tore our clothes ; tumbled into bogs and 
ditches ; had the skin brushed from our noses and cheeks, 
and our eyes nearly put out by sharp twigs and swinging 

That first flanking was truly amusing ; I could hear my 
companions- plunging over logs, and occasionally uttering 
expletives more forcible than orthodox, as they struck 
their heads against trees, or had their mouths rudely 
opened by an entering twig. Splash, splash we went, 
through the water and mire, and then crackled through 
the sodden leaves and dead branches, and then crept 
noiselessly "by some wayside tenement, and then halted 
with suspended breath at some actual or imaginary 

Whenever we observed a camp or fire near the railway 
we made a flank movement, to the serious detriment of 
our b)Oots and clothes, and then struck the road again, 
thus vastly increasing the distance and time of our jour- 
neying. The first night we made only eleven miles in a 
direct line — how much in detours, it would 'be impossible 
to conjecture — when one of my companions declaring 
himself utterly exhausted, we endeavored to find a j)lace 
of concealment. 

That was very difficult, as there was, during the Win- 
ter, no undergrowth to furnish a hiding-place. We tried 
haystacks in vain. We penetrated into woods, and 
could not get out of sight. Everywhere we went, we 


found ourselves too near some road, and tlie out-houses 
too unsafe. 

We walked farther and farther from the railway, 
through one piece of timber and then another, and yet 
were ever likely to be seen from the highways or some 

At last the early dawn had deepened into broad day. 
We could go no farther. We crept into a pinery and 
lay there, not more than a hundred yards from the road, 
within sound of the voices of men at work, and the bab- 
ble of children at the farm-house. 

The day was very raw and cold, but we durst not light 
a fire. So we lay flat on the ground, never speaking in 
other than the lowest sotto voce tone, shivering, and anx- 
ious and longing for the shades of evening. 

I was very thinly clad, having no other coat than a 
light blouse ; and, unable to move about to start the cir- 
culation of the blood, I suffered much from the cold, as 
did my companions. "If we are not captured to-day," 
we said, "the Gods who have been so long opposed must 
be on our side." 

The welcome dusk came at last. No one of those who 
had been in our immediate vicinity had seen us ; and 
with glad hearts we went forth, like the beasts of prey, 
in search of food. We repaired to the quarters of the 
slaves on an adjoining plantation, and soon obtained a 
promise from one of them, if we would go to a barn on 
the place, that he would send us food. Before this time 
a chilly, penetrating rain had begun to descend, and as 
we were quite wet, a roof was very acceptable. 

The master of the plantation had company that night, 


and consequently we were compelled to wait until nearly 
midniglit Ijefore we obtained any provisions. We did 
not know how hungry we were until a liberal sup- 
ply of corn bread and bacon was banded us by tbe 

Those are means of sustenance I naturally abhor ; but no 
Fifth Avenue dinner, however recherche, ever pleased 
my palate so much as those Southern staples. When we 
were ready to resume our march, a negro oifered to guide 
us back to the railway ; and we set forth in a driving, 
drenching storm, through such a pall-like darkness, that 
we could not see the nearest object. We walked in what 
is known as Indian file, sometimes one leading, and some- 
times another, with preconcerted signals for doubt, dan- 
ger, and recognition. 

When our leader paused we stopped, and a motion of 
the hand, if it were light enough to see, or, if it were not, 
alow "hush!" brought us to an instantaneous halt. If 
we were scattered, a sudden quick cough was the sign of 
recognition, and a low whistle, in imitation of a night- 
bird, brought us together. 

Through that tempestuous night we marched wearily 
on, our clothes dripping, like a jealous woman's eyes 
when the storm is subsiding, and running into our boots, 
until they were fuU of water. Harder and harder the 
rain fell, and colder and colder it grew. 

We were chilled from head to heel, and our saturated 
garments became a burden, chafing our limbs and clog- 
ging our steps. 

How often I thought of the line of Shakspeare about 
"biding the peltings of this pitiless storm," and marveled 


if even old Lear had encountered a rougher and a 
drearier night. 

There were a number of cattle-guards and pits along 
the road, filled with mire and water ; and as Ave had to 
walk over them on the rails, the condition of our boots 
and clothes, added to our chilliness and fatigue, made our 
pace unsteady, and frequently we fell, waist-deep, into 
those turbid and ungrateful baths. 

The ties, too, were slippery, and often we lost our 
equilibrium, and wounded our weary and paining feet. 
The sea-Captain badly sprained his foot, and could barely 
hobble along ; occasionally requiring our support for a 
mile or two. 

One of the greatest sources of our anxiety was the fear 
of a sprain, or some manner of maiming, knowing that 
such an accident must greatly diminish our prospect of 
freedom. In the superlative darkness, and in a region 
entirely unknown, we were liable at any moment to make 
a misstep that would place us beyond the power of 
marching farther. How we prayed, in our Bohemian 
way, for sound feet and strong limbs, for continued health 
and the favor of Fortune. 

The negro who had guided us to the railway had told 
us of another of his color to whom we could apply for 
shelter and food at the terminus of our second stage. 
Him we could not find until nearly dawn, and when we 
did, he directed us to a large barn filled with wet corn- 

. Into that we crept with our dripping garments, and lay 
there for fifteen hours, until we could again venture 
forth. Floundering about in the husks, we lost our 


haversacks, pipes, and a liat tliat belonged to the 
speaker, and deprived of which, he was, indeed, uncov- 

About nine o'clock we procured a hearty supper from 
the generous negro, who even gave me his unique head- 
covering — an appropriate presentation, as one of my com- 
panions remarked, by an "intelligent contraband" to the 
"reliable gentleman" of The IST. Y. Ti'ibune — and did 
picket-duty while we hastily ate our meal and stood 
against his blazing fire. The old African and his wife 
gave us "God bless you, massas !" with trembling voice 
and moistened eyes, as we parted from them with grateful 

"God bless the negroes!" say I, with earnest lips. 
During our entire captivity, and after our escape, they 
were ever our firm, brave, unflinching friends. We 
never made an appeal to them they did not answer. They 
never hesitated to do us a service at the risk even of life, 
and under the most trying circumstances revealed a de- 
votion and a spii'it of self-sacrifice that were heroic. The 
magic word "Yankee" opened all their hearts, and 
elicited the loftiest virtues. They were ignorant, op- 
pressed, enslaved ; but they always cherished a simple 
and beautiful faith in the cause of the Union and its 
ultimate triumph, and never abandoned or turned aside 
from a man who sought food or shelter on his way to 




The Third, Fourth, and Fifth Nights Out. — Missing the Road. — Extremely Cold 
"Weather. — Our Sufferings in a Barn. — The Slaves our Faithful Friends. — 
Torture of the Boot Revived. — Our Pursuit and Masterly Retreat. — Our Re- 
enforcement with Mules and Whisky. — ^Incidents along the Route. — Arrival 
in "Wilkes County. 

A New Hampshire soldier, Charles Thurston, a ser- 
geant of the Sixth regiment, had joined us before we left 
Salisbury. He had been a fellow-conspirator for many 
weeks, and had been going out with us through various 
tunnels ; but when they were all exposed, we were com- 
pelled to resort to some other mode of exodus. Having 
heard privately that we had gone, on Sunday night, he 
managed to slip out of the hospital bakery, where he 
was employed, behind one of the Prison Detectives, 
about four hours after our escape, and get into the town 

Our party then consisted of five, and we continued our 
march on the railway in better condition, having gotten 
our clothes partially dry, and satisfied our hunger. That 
was our third night, and we were only seventeen miles 
from Salisbury. We were desirous to go nearly to 
Statesville — eight miles to the west — and then, flanking 
the to"wn, move in a northwesterly direction toward 


Wilkes County. We liad iDeen directed by the negro, at 
the last stopping-place, to Allison' s Mill, which was to 
"be our guide in the way we wanted to go. We flanked 
Statesville, and found Allison' s Mill, which proved after- 
ward to he the wrong one — we had not been told there 
were two — and therefore missed the road entirely. 

We knew not where we were going, but we took first 
one road and then another ; marching very rapidly, as we 
needed to do, for the wind had veered round to the ISTorth, 
and the night had grown very cold. We climbed fences, 
examined haystacks and dilapidated cabins, but found 
no negro tenements, nor any place where we could staj 
without danger of freezing. 

Our limbs became stiff and our lips blue when we 
paused ; and as we Avere afraid to light a fire, we went on 
in the teeth of the biting wind, until the tears streamed 
from our eyes, and our faces and hands and feet were 
like ice. 

It was nearly dawn when we descried, by the light of 
the moon, a plantation at a distance. One of us went to 
the negro quarters, and returned with the information 
that we could go to a large barn near by, and cover our- 
selves with hay until the principal house-servant had an 
opportunity to bring us food. 

All five of us climbed into the barn, built of logs piled 
"cob-house" fashion, and consequently very cold; the 
wind driving through the open spaces, and chilling us 
through and through. We buried ourselves completely 
in the hay ; but there was no possibility of getting warm. 
I shivered against Mr. Richardson' s side, and he against 
mine. We put our arms around each other, and snug- 


gled up, as cliildren say, to no purpose. We tliouglit 
we would freeze to death if we fell asleep ; so we crawled 
out of the hay, and began moving about in the loft, and 
soon induced our companions to come out also. We 
were still very cold, but we suffered less than we had 
done, because our blood circulated more. 

About eleven o' clock the negro came to us with a bas- 
ket of pork and corn-bread, which we ate with great 
relish. He was delighted to see us, and was very intel- 
ligent, having been a servant to a Rebel officer in the 
field. He said his master was a violent Secessionist, and 
would kill him, and us too, if he knew we were there ; 
but that he was not afraid. He had helped the Yankees 
before, and would help them again. 

After dark the negro took us to his cabin, gave us our 
supper, and let us thaw before his fire, guided us to tlie 
Allison's Mill — when we learned we had walked about 
fifteen miles and accomplished only half a mile in the 
right direction — and there told us what road to follow, 
piloting us a mile and a half on our way. 

When I escaped I had been compelled to wear a very 
large, coarse, stift' pair of boots — the sole ones I could 
procure in the Prison — which I could keep on only 
because they were tight across the instep and around the 
ankles. They tortured me at every step, and wore holes 
in my ankles that resembled wounds from buck-shot ; 
while their weight and clumsiness tired me greatly, and 
made me stumble as if I were intoxicated. They 
had become soaking wet again and again, and frozen on 
my feet, so that they were like wooden shoes, entirely 
without elasticity or power of expansion. Mr. Richard- 


son' s foot-coverings were very mucli of tlie same kind ; 
and as we marched along through the darkness over the 
rough and broken ground, it was with great difficulty we 
could often suppress cries of pain. When we slipped, 
or stepped into ruts, our feet were wrenched as if they 
were in a vice ; and still we had but begun our march of 
four hundred miles ; and the most arduous and toilsome 
part was yet to come. 

What were boots, or pain, or cold, or hardship, com- 
pared to freedom ? 

We marched on through the moonless night until we 
reached Jlocky Creek, in Rowan County, where we 
paused, very cold and fatigued, and built a fire — we had 
taken the precaution to supply ourselves with matches — 
in an adjacent pinery. There we warmed ourselves as 
well as we could, and about four o' clock Friday morn- 
ing, crossed the creek on a log on our hands and knees ; 
the frost having made it so slippery there was no secu- 
rity in walking. 

We then struck a dirt road going from Statesville to 
Jonesville ; and about six o' clock began to think we 
were off the direct route. 

Sergeant Thurston determined to apply for information 
at a house standing at the forks of the road, and did so. - 
When he returned, we concluded the man he had seen 
was a Rebel, and might raise the dogs, old men, and boys, 
armed with rifles and shot-guns, and hunt us down, as is 
the custom in Secessia. 

Our conclusion was correct. 

When daylight came, one of us perceived the old fel- 
low following us, and the Sergeant ran back toward 


Mm in a threatening manner that frightened him into a 
rapid retreat. We had no fear of him alone, hnt appre- 
hended that he would excite an alarm, and bring the 
whole human and canine neighborhood upon us. 

"We thought we were so tired we could go no farther ; 
but the prospect of pursuit so strengthened our limbs 
that we started upon a run ; darting into woods, over 
fences, through quagmires ; crossing and re-crossing 
fields ; moving to every point of the compass so rapidly 
that an African blood-hound would have found it diffi- 
cult to scent out our progress. 

At last we paused, about nine o'clock, in a pinery, and 
soon had a blazing fire of dry wood, which caused very 
little smoke. We would not have made the fire, but, as 
we were freezing, it was a military necessity. We were 
quite anxious all day ; but we heard and saw nothing 
that led us to believe we were pursued. If we were, 
our pursuers must have lost the trail, which would not 
have been singular, as we were at least two miles from 
any road or even footpath, so far as we could determine. 

We then concluded that another night' s march would 
take us to the settlement in Wilkes County, to which the 
Lieutenant of militia had directed. Then I first began to 
have some well-defined hope that we would get through. 

When I escaped, I did so on principle, trusting that we 
might at least be out a week, or possibly two, and be- 
lieving if we were shot we would have the satisfaction of 
dying in the laudable effort to obtain our freedom, as be- 
came American citizens. 

We had but fifteen miles further to go before we should 
find a haven of rest, which we sorely needed. We re- 


sumed our marcli in excellent spirits, tliougli greatly 
worn and exhausted ; and no wonder, as we had iDeen un- 
able to sleep more than a few minutes at a time, on ac- 
count of the cold. Indeed, I do not know that I had lost 
mj consciousness after our exodus from the Penitentiary. 

I struck out boldly, however, and summoned all my 
will. The miles seemed endless, and every step increased 
my fatigue. 

At last I was forced to lean on my confrere' s arm, as he 
had done on mine the first night out. My breath was short 
and hot, my head was heavy, and my limbs trembled. 

My associate insisted upon it that I was on the eve of 
a severe typhoid fever. 

I knew I merely wanted rest. He urged me to stop at 
a way- side public-house, the only one we encountered in 
all our journey, and said he would remain with me. I 
would not consent, fearing my doing so would endanger 
the whole party. Therefore I endeavored to go on, tell- 
ing my companions to leave me if I failed. To that they 
would not agree. Mr. Richardson, with characteristic 
generosity, declared he would not separate from me. 

At the public house, or shanty rather, we procured 
some food, and learned to our satisfaction that the pro- 
prietor was a Unionist. Hearing we were all greatly fa- 
tigued, he offered for a certain sum — and we had abun- 
dance of money in our ^Darty — to loan us two mules to help 
us onward. 

We accepted his proposition, and Captain Wolfe, still 
suffering from his sprain, and myself, mounted the ani- 
iTuils, Their equipments were very inferior. My mule was 
saddleless, and the sharp backbone almost bisected me, 


wMle my legs pained me excessively, and seemed as if 
they would part company with my Ibody. 

After proceeding two or three miles, we halted at a 
cabin to get two or three more mules, and while there the 
host pressed us to drink some whisky. The distillation 
of corn is very repulsive to me ; but I thought it might 
give me temporary strength, and I swallowed a large 
quantity before we resumed our journey. It improved 
my condition at first ; but very soon I began to grow very 
ill. The liquor had nauseated me, and for three hours I 
swayed from side to side, and resembled Vesuvius in a 
constant state of eruption. 

Jove ! but I was sick ; I almost lost my senses. Every 
atom of my frame ached. It seemed as if I would fall to 
pieces. Riding on that mule was purgatorial. I dis- 
mounted, and stumbled over the road. 

Finally, we reached the vicinity of the settlement in 
Wilkes County. We parted with our mule-owners, and 
Mr. Richardson went in quest of the Lieutenant' smother, 
leaving me lying on the ground, begging to be let alone. 
He returned after a long search, and half supported, half 
carried me, with genuine tenderness, to the cabin where 
the good woman lived. 

• There the other three preceded me, and were leaning 
against the chimney corner fast asleep. I was soon un- 
dressed, and in a soft, warm bed. 

What a luxury it was, after twenty months of lying on 
hard floors and rude bunks ! Hardly had my head 
touched the pillow before I lapsed into a slumber as 
sweet and deep as if I lay a child again upon my mother's 


In fonr hours I awoke, entirely refreshed and healed, to 
find my associate by my bedside, with a cup of rye coffee 
and a plate of fritters in his hand, asking me to eat some- 
thing, I had a good appetite, and gratified it, and went 
to bed again, to sleep once more a dreamless and delicious 




The Unjon Settlement in Wilkes County. — Frequent Change of Base. — Christmas 
Spent in a Barn. — Ghostly Marches. — Alarms and Adventures in Tadkia 
County. — A Bohemian Model Artist. — An Eventful Night. — Storm and Senti- 
ment. — Love-Making in a Tempest. — Parting with our Loyal Friends. — Their 
Devotion and Regret. — ^Battles between Unionists and Eebel Home Guards. — 
Inextinguishable Fidehty of the People. 

The settlement we had reached was chiefly composed 
of relatives of the loyal Lieutenant, who gave us a most 
cordial and generous welcome. They could not do enough 
for us — some of them had never seen a " Yankee" before 
— and they were delighted to meet us. They were very 
demonstrative, and asked us more questions in a minute 
than we could answer in a day. 

Though entire strangers, we were regarded from the 
first as their dearest friends. Men, women, and children 
were anxious to serve us ; and We felt, indeed, as if our 
lines had fallen in pleasant places. They oflTered us their 
fullest store, and would have given us half of w^liat they 
possessed if we had needed it. 

More kindness, affection, devotion, I have never seen. 
Those noble-hearted people — for the most part poor — 
gave me a higher idea of humanity ; and their efforts in 
our behalf, and their spirit of sacrifice, filled me with the 


deepest sense of gratitude, -wliicli I long for an opportu- 
nity to display in something more than words. 

The loyal Lieutenant had requested us to tarry in the 
settlement for two or three days, and he would join our 
party and go through ^vith us to our lines. 

The evening of the day — Saturday, Deceml>er 24 — we 

arrived in the county, we left Mrs. ' s house, and 

repaired to the barn, about a quarter of a mile distant, 
of a relative of the family, for increased securit}^, and 
from unwillingness to jeopardize the good people who 
so generously sheltered us. We remained there that 
night and the next day (Christmas), when a number of 
men and women visited us to congratulate us on our es- 
cape, and to assure us of their unswerving fidelity, of 
which we had no doubt. 

Christmas night, one of our friends told us it had been 
whispered about that there were five Yankees in the set- 
tlement ; and, fearing the Rebel Home Guards might be 
apprised of the fact, deemed it prudent to remove us to 
the adjoining County of Yadkin, where the wife of the 
Lie,utenant resided. 

Under the man's guidance we walked through the 
woods by by-paths to the new place of shelter, a distance 
of four or five miles. The night was dark as Egypt, and 
we moved along as cautiously and noiselessly as if we 
stepped about the couch of our dying mistress. 

We called those nocturnal journeys the marches of 
death. We spoke not a syllable; we suppressed our 
breath, and moved as lightly as if our life depended — 
and perhaps it did — upon our perfect quietude. 

Not a twig broke beneath our careful feet. The 


silence was almost painful in its impressiveness. The 
stirring of the dry leaves, as the wind swept through 
them, sounded loudly to our strained ears. Every sense 
was on the rack of apprehension ; every nerve at its 
highest tension. We seemed like unquiet ghosts as we 
stalked along — disembodied spirits wandering on the 
Stygian shore. 

In an hour and a half we reached the desired habita- 
tion, and the same generous welcome greeted us as before. 
The wife of the Lieutenant assured us we would not en- 
danger her home by resting beneath her humble roof, 
and that night we lay in comfortable beds. She was a 
native of Virginia, an intelligent, calm, brave, quick- 
witted woman, fruitful in expedients and resources. 

In the morning her children, two of them little girls of 
four and six years, stood picket while their mother and 
their elder sister prepared our breakfast. 

Strange and thorough teachers are danger and devo- 
tion. Those children, as all others we met, were un- 
naturally developed ; their senses acute ; their secretive- 
ness perfect ; their self-possession complete. We could 
trust them as we could matured persons. We had 
no fear of their indiscretion : we relied on them fully. 
Custom and order Avere reversed. Strong, self-reliant 
men who had passed two years in the field, who had 
often looked death in the face, who had stood by count- 
less couches of suffering and death, to aid, to comfort, and 
console, were protected by, and leaned on, women and 
children. They could do for us what our own sex could 
not, and they did it with a silent and unconscious 
heroism that made it all the more beautiful. 



Soon after Ibreakfast a squad of Breckinridge' s cavalry- 
were reported coming np the road — the house stood at the 
roadside — and we were advised to conceal ourselves 
under the beds. We were not long in taking our posi- 
tions, and then the Lieutenant's wife went out on the 
porch with an unconcerned air. The cavalry men stopped, 
and she talked to them in a quiet, easy way, well calcu- 
lated to disarm suspicion, if any had heen excited. They 
did not enter the dwelling, as we feared, and after a few 
minutes rode on. 

She then called us to come out, saying, ' ' All is safe, 
Iboys." But we had hardly assumed an erect position 
when several suspicious-looking characters were an- 
nounced, and again Ave crept under the Ibeds. Some of 
our party may have been compelled to indulge in that 
kind of thing before ; but I conjecture it was under very 
different circumstances. 

The pursuit of gallantry had nothing to do with the 
recreation there ; and I confess I did not like it altogether, 
although it was for the sake of that dear woman who 
holds the shield of the Republic, and wears the garment 
embroidered with stars. 

The precaution was unnecessary that time. The suspi- 
cious-looking characters proved to be rude hinds who 
went quietly by the dwelling. 

Once more we went forth in a vertical form, ascended 
to the corn-loft and removed our clothes — for what pur- 
pose, those who have been in Rebel Prisons need not be 
told. I was still lingering over my poetic toil when two 
tithe-officers knocked at the door, to collect their dues in 


Mr. Davis cried out: "Hurry, Junius, those men are 
coming up !" and immediately darted "below. Poor me ! 
But a single garment graced my slender form at that junc- 
ture, and, seizing the remainder of my wardrobe, I rushed 
into the apartment we had quitted a few moments before. 
There I found the kind-hearted woman, who a third time 
told us to get undter.the bed. 

My companions laughed at my costume ; but I declared 
with imperturbable sang-froid that I did not care. 

My feminine friend smiled, and very sensibly remarked 
that it made no diiference whatever ; that such things 
would happen sometimes ; and that she had seen men in 
that guise before, which, as she was the mother of four 
children, is not at all improbable. 

The same night, Monday, we concluded that Yadkin 
County was not as safe as it might be, judging from our 
single day' s experience in it ; so we marched back, the 
same dark, silent, breath-bated march as before, to 
Wilkes County, and the friendly barn we had quitted. 
We lay there concealed in the corn-husks and hay until 
Tuesday evening. Then we heard the guards were 
searching for us, and we divided; three going to the 
habitation of the Lieutenant's mother, and two to his 

Wednesday morning, while at breakfast, two men en- 
tered the cabin, taking us by surprise. The dog on 
which we had depended had gone away, and therefore 
the strangers came unannounced. 

There was no means of retreat, as the cabin had but one 
door, and we knew our greatest safety would be in a 
calm manner. We continued our humble meal, therefore. 


very deliberately and unconcernedly, and at its close 
were not displeased to learn the strangers were deserters 
from tlie Rebel army, and entirely trustworthy. 

The day we spent in a barn, and at night we returned 
to the cabin. We were at supper when a low whistle 
was heard outside, indicating a surprise, perhaps a sur- 
rounding of the house by the enemy, with the intention 
of shooting down whoever attempted to escape — the 
custom in that section of country. 

The wife and her adopted daughter, a girl of sixteen or 
seventeen — we will call her Lucy — were greatly alarmed. 
Tliey threw ashes on the burning logs in great haste, to 
extinguish the glare of the fire, and told us to get under 
the bed and to go out of the door at the same time. We 
chose the latter, and out we dashed into the dark and 
stormy night, more than half expecting to be greeted 
with several rifle-flashes as we emerged from the dwelling. 

A minute after I felt some one clinging to my arm, and 
a voice saying, in a suppressed tone : " Come this way !" 
I could hardly see the face, it was so dark, but I knew it 
was the black-eyed, black-haired, intensely loyal Lucy, 
who took as much interest in our welfare as if we were 
lovers and brothers combined. 

" What are you doing here, my dear child ?" I inquired 
whisperingly. " Why don't you go in out of the storm, 
and let me care for myself?" 

" O, I want to stay with you," she answered earnestly. 
" Do come with me. I will show you where to hide. I 
wouldn't have any thing happen to you for the world. 
rd rather die than have harm come to you." 

Poor girl! Her appeal was resistless. I forgot the 


danger of tlie situation in my pity and regard for her. 
Her voice and manner liad touclied even my worn-out 

The rain was falling in torrents, and tlie thunder l}el- 
lowing through the sable vault overhead ; but still Lucy 
clung to my arm. The other, disengaged, I threw about 
her waist — a taper one, even though she had always lived 
in North Carolina, and had never worn a corset — and 
drawing her plump figure to my bosom, kissed her long 
and closely — more for gratitude than gallantry, more from 
a sense of duty than affection ; and yet duty just at that 
moment appeared not disagreeable to discharge. 

The sensation was not unpleasant to me, 

I do not believe it would have been to any man who 
had not touched a woman' s lips for at least two years. 

In the midst of that rather sentimental scene we learned 
that the whistle we had heard proceeded from a Rebel 
deserter who had come to the house to see Lucy — she 
said she liked him because he hkd shot two Home Guards ; 
but as a man he was not agreeable to her — and who had 
given the signal, fearing the masculine voices he had heard 
inside might be those of enemies.. 

In less than an hour Ave had another alarm, and once 
more we ran out into the rain ; but that alarm was also 
causeless, and returning to the cabin, we went to bed — 
the members of the family and ourselves all in one room, 
which was indeed the whole house. 

I slept quite well, and dreamed that Lucy was a 
princess in disguise, who introduced me to a black- robed 
magician, that furnished us with a winged dragon, that 
mounted, with us on his back, and flew away to New 


York, and set us down to an elegant supper at tlie Maison 

About that time I awoke, and Lucy was sitting de- 
murely in the chimney corner, preparing our plain l)reak- 
fast before the fire. So Lucy was no princess, and the 
dragon could not be procured, and the magician was 
absent ; and as I could not have any of those fine things, 
I took a piece of corn bread instead, and swallowed it 
with relish, and a new longing after the Ideal. 

The next night, believing the Lieutenant would not 
come, and that our delay was dangerous, we parted from 
our good friends with saddened hearts. Old men took us 
in their arms and blessed us ; women, young and old, 
wept at our departure, and children nestled to our bosom 
as if we were the nearest and dearest of their kin. 

All that was not for us personally. It was the out- 
pouring of loyalty from those noble spirits toward tlie 
representatives of that element in the great Republic ; the 
homage paid to the principle of patriotism ; the gushing 
forth of suppressed Unionism toward those who had 
suffered in its cause. 

Wilkes is one of the strongest Union counties — proba- 
bly the strongest— in North Carolina. The Rebels call it 
old United States, and declare it irrepressible. Deserters 
from the Southern service went about there with impu- 
nity, but generally carried their weapons. Often fights 
took place between them and the Home Guards, and the 
latter were generally worsted. 

At Traphill, some twenty miles from the settlement in 
which we were, the Unionists and Rebels had had a 


dozen fights, tlie former "being intrenched, and capable 
of defending themselves against large odds. 

The Guards were tolerably qniet when we were there, 
so far as deserters were concerned, but they would have 
"been very glad to capture or shoot an escaping Yankee. 

The Union men were increasing every month, and the 
insurgents diminishing. Some of the latter had under- 
gone a great revolution during the year. A man who 
had been a prominent Secessionist invited us to his house, 
but we went not. 

The loyal population had suffered greatly. The "War 
had deprived them of their property, their protectors, an^ 
their peace ; but still they clung to the belief that the 
cause of the Republic must prevail ; that all would be 
well with those who held out to the last. 




Accession of Escaped Prisoners. — ResumjDtion of our Journey. — Excessive 
Roughness of the Route. — Character of the North Carolina Roads. — Flanking 
of "Wilkesboro. — Losing our Way. — Crossing the Yadkin. — Skeptical "Women. 
— Interview with Bushwhackers. — Consoling Counsel. — Passage of the Blue 
Ridge. — A Severe March over Mountains. — Safety ever Retreating. — Narrow 
Escapes from Union Rifles. — Contradictory Reports about our Lines. 

While in Wilkes County, two of our fellow-prisoners, 
a captain of a small trading- vessel from Pliiladelj)liia, 
and a North Carolina Unionist, haying escaped by bri- 
bing the guard at Salisbury, arrived in the settlement, 
and sent us word they would like to journey in our 
company ; but, deeming it prudent for us to travel in 
small parties, we declined, and Sergeant Thurston joined 
the other two, who, with a deserter from Lee' s army, set 
out toward Wilkesboro, the capital of the county, the 
day before we did. 

Wednesday night, December 28, we resumed our 
march. It was very dark and stormy, and one of our 
many loyal friends guiding us for five miles to the 
cabin of a free mulatto, who in turn piloted us on, we 
reached Glass' s mill, a distance of fourteen miles, without 

Our long rest had materially benefited us, and we felt 


7 '^' ' \ 



mucli fresher tlian wlien we quitted the Penitentiary so 
abruptly. At the mill we found the other party of four, 
and going to the habitation of a Unionist, he directed us 
to his corn-crib, where we lay concealed until the follow- 
ing night. After dark we obtained a substantial meal, 
and continued our progress toward Wilkesboro, having 
secured the services of a guide. 

The road was extremely rough, being so excessively 
cut up and frozen that we stumbled along like men in the 
last stage of intoxication, frequently falling on our knees 
and at full length. 

One who has not traveled in I^ortli Carolina since the 
War can form no idea of the state of the roads, which de- 
serve not the name. They have not been repaired for 
years, and were never in a good condition. There are 
ruts, gullies, embankments, ridges, cuts, over which no 
ordinary wagon could move beyond a snail' s pace with- 
out upsetting half a dozen times every mile. And then, 
traveling upon them at night vastly augments the labor 
and the difficulty. 

The march is exhausting to the last degree. Cold as the 
weather often was, our bodies were bathed in perspira- 
tion ; our blood burned ; our limbs ached ; our feet were 
twisted and strained until they seemed as if they must re- 
fuse their office. They became numb and sore, fevered 
and frozen by turns. The frozen earth cut through our 
boots like knives, and lacerated the tender flesh. 

It appeared often as if we must sink down by the way- 
side — that even the strong magnet of Liberty could draV 
us no farther. Yet we exercised our Will. We thought 
of the prisons we had left ; of the wretched death that 


miglit overtake us if we lagged beliind in that wild and 
dreary country ; and then of the iDeloved IS'orth and the dear 
friends from whom we had l)een so long separated, and 
who would greet us there as if we had risen from the 
tomb ; and the contrast spurred us on. Our strength re- 
vived, and our sinews were braced afresh. 

About midnight we were within a mile of Wilkesboro. 
We essayed to flank the town, and, losing our way, were 
compelled to retrace our steps for several miles. We were 
all tired out, and obliged to halt when we had finally 
passed around and beyond the place. Our blood was 
chilled ; our limbs were stiff ; our frame shook as in an 

We paused and lighted a fire, knowing not where we 
were, for our guide had lost his reckoning entirely. We 
lay down on the frozen ground, but, exhausted as we 
were, we could not sleep. While one side of our bodies 
was hot from the flames, we were icy cold on the other. 

We suffered more from the sharp, frosty air and the 
wintry wind than when in motion. We must go on, and 
on we went for five miles, until we reached the banks of 
the Yadkin River. It was then broad day, but it was 
highly important we should cross the stream at once ; for 
we had been assured that when we were on the other side 
we would be safe. 

Fortunately, we met a Unionist who directed us to the 
ford, which we found, after wandering up and down for 
an hour, A woman was crossing the river in a canoe, 
an'd when she reached the eastern bank we asked for a 
man who had been recommended to us. The woman was 
"wary, fearing we were Home Guards in search of her 


husband, the person for whom we inquired. We soon 
succeeded in convincing her of her error, when she told 
us she was his wife, on her way to Wilkesboro to sell 
some butter. We crossed the stream, but before we 
could reach the habitation we were seeking, we heard a 
horn blow, and knew it was a signal to the " liers-out." 

Haying arrived at the dwelling, not a man was visible, 
and an elderly woman there proved as absolute a know- 
nothing as it was possible to conceive. She declared she 
was utterly destitute of information of any kind on any 
subject. We assured her we were friends ; that we were' 
escaped Yankee prisoners ; but she could not be con- 
vinced ; remarking that the Rebels often went about 
in disguise, pretending to be what they were not, and 
plainly intimating that she did not believe a word of 
what we said. 

Almost an hour' s argument was requisite to prove to 
the female skeptic that we were what we had stated. 
Then she offered us something to eat — fat pork, butter- 
milk, and corn-bread, which, as we were very hungry, 
we consumed voraciously. She told us to hide in the 
bushes, and that the man we wished to see would soon 
join us, as she had sent a messenger for him. 

We did so, and ere long the bushwhacker made his 
appearance, and was very glad to see us. He introduced 
us to several others of his class, and three or four of 
Colonel Kirk's regiment. We inquired about the pros- 
pect of crossing the Blue Ridge, twenty miles to the 
West, and the answer was, that it was useless to make 
the attempt ; that the mountains were covered with 
snow ; that, if we endeavored to go over them, we would 


certainly be tracked, caught, and killed. "It is two 
hundred miles to Knoxville," continued the spokesman, 
"and no one ever reaches there. All who try it are 
murdered on the way." 

That was encouraging, certainlyj to us, who had heen 
assured our peril would he past when we had crossed 
the Yadkin. I laughed at the consolation we had receiv- 
ed ; though, I confess, the laugh was not from the heart. 

We told the bushwhackers we were willing to take the 
risk ; that we would pay any of them liberally who 
would undertake to guide us across the mountains. 
IsTone of them would consent ; but informed us, if we 
would wait until the snow had disappeared, they would 
pilot us, but not till then ; and that we could live with 
them until that time arrived. 

Knowing from past experiences, that dangers and 
difficulties generally diminish when we confront, or as 
we approach them, we resolved to push on at least to the 
base of the Blue Ridge. That night we started, although 
we had been told the passes were guarded, and accom- 
plished seven N'orth-Carolina miles — the longest in the 
Avorld, except those of Tennessee — when we found another 
Union family. We went into an open corn-crib, and 
thinking we could sleep, as the weather had moderated, 
we threw ourselves on the ground. ■ 

We had barely lain down before the wind veered 
round to the North, and blew so coldly on our thinly 
attired bodies that sleep was impossible. We had little 
or no protection from the blast ; and believing I would 
freeze there, I removed to another out-house, and was 
endeavoring to bury myself among the ears of corn, when 


the Unionist came up and said : ' ' Boys, it' s too cold 
liere. I'll put yon in my store-liouse. There's a good 
deal of fodder there. My wife will send you food and 
quilts, and I reckon you can make yourselves comfor- 

In a few minutes our party of eight — we had discov- 
ered and greatly frightened a couple of deserters from 
Alabama and Florida, who had traveled on foot all the 
way from Richmond, by coming suddenly upon them in 
the corn- crib, but whom we left there asleep — were in 
the store-house, and very agreeably situated, compara- 
tively. I rested very little that night, but my compa- 
nions slumbered soundly ; and the next morning — the 
last day of the year — we told the other four they had 
better go on, and that we would wait until January 1st. 

So we divided again, and after passing I^ew- Year' s Day 
in the store-house, we started again that night — clear, 
bright, and cold — ^but not before I had exchanged the 
cape of an army over- coat for a cLuilt — and walked ten 
miles, crossing Wilson's Fork at least twenty-five times, 
and falling into it at least twelve, arriving about four 
o'clock in the morning in Watauga County. 

The Laurel Spur of the Blue Ridge we ascended with 
little difficulty, and were taken in by a Unionist, who put 
us in the upper part of a store-house, on a feather-bed, 
and gave us several coverlets. Strange ! I could not sleep ; 
I never tried more energetically in all my life ; but 
I lay there stark wide awake all day ; the infernal ver- 
min, of which we had not gotten rid, torturing us exceed- 
ingly, and driving away repose ; our inability to bathe 
and change our under-clothes, as we had done regularly 


in Prison, rendering our condition very nncomfortalble 
in that respect. 

On tlie night of January 2, we engaged the loyal man 
who had sheltered us to take us over the Blue Ridge, 
which, he informed us, there was no difficulty in cross- 
ing, as the passes were not guarded, and the snow was 
not deep enougli to impede our progress. 

We had anticipated vast difficulty and extreme fatigue 
from that part of the journey, and we were greatly 
pleased to hear him express himself so encouragingly, 
particularly as we fancied, once heyond that range of 
mountains, we would have a fair prospect of getting 

Experience proved the correctness of our guide's ob- 
servation. We found the ascent far easier than some of 
the roads we had traveled, and we enjoyed a fine view 
of the surrounding country at the summit, twenty-five 
hundred feet ahove sea-level. 

We were in fine condition. We descended, obtaining 
very picturesque views of mountain scenery, which we 
were hardly in a proper frame of mind fully to appreciate, 
and reached and crossed New River. We were very glad 
to see a river sensible enough to run North, as that did, 
and we knelt down and kissed and quafifed its limpid 
waters in token of our admiration for its judgment. 

Made fifteen miles that night, much of it very hard 
traveling. Fell into a number of mountain streams, and 
were quite wet when we reached our destination. The 
weather cold and wind cutting, as we crawled into our 
usual place of shelter and concealment — a barn. Were 
very hungry, and ate a piece of corn bread with exceed- 


ing relish, as we lay covered up, but sliivering, in the 
hay. My note-book reads : " How I long for the snowy 
sheets and soft pillows — shall I say the softer snowy 
arms ? — I have known in the beloved and blessed N'orth !" 
I presume, as the feeling is very natural, that the wish 
must have come from the heart. 

January 3, we made the first march by day, having 
been assured it was perfectly safe. No doubt it was, for 
it was by foot-paths over very steep, rough mountains, 
through laurel thickets and rocky streams, and over 
fallen timber. The snow was ten to twelve inches deep 
on the mountains, and we were eight hours in going ten 
miles. We often fell head over heels in descending, and 
sometimes hurt ourselves not a little, by striking trees 
and stumps ; and in ascending we had to drag ourselves 
up by the branches of trees, and with the aid of our staffs 
almost constantly. 

At the end of our stage we learned we were in Johnson 
County, Tennessee, three miles from the N^orth-Carolina 
line. Out of that State we were at last ; and much we 
felicitated ourselves on the fact. That began to look 
like successful escape — like a reward for all our endu- 
rance and suffering. 

We had been told when we arrived in Tennessee we 
would be perfectly safe. In fact, those stories were 
repeated to us all along the route. The place we chanced 
to be in was very dangerous ; but just beyond — ten, 
twenty, or thirty miles— there was another place, where 
there was no danger whatever. 

When we left Salisbury, to reach Wilkes County was 
to be secure. When we quitted the Union settlement, 


all we needed for safety was to get beyond Wilkes- 
boro. Then, when we had crossed the Yadkin, we 
could lay aside all apprehension ; and beyond the Yad- 
kin we met reckless bushwhackers and hardy moun- 
taineers, who would not venture to go with us over 
the Blue Eidge, but told us it was madness to make the 

Our natural deduction was, from all this, that no local- 
ity was safe except that over which the blessed Banner 
of Stars waved ; and to see that once more was our aim, 
our anxiety, our aspiration. 

In Johnson County we obtained an excellent supper 
for that region — the best we had had — and we ate raven- 
ously after our mountain climbing, and a fast of fifteen 

The Union people to whom we went put us in their 
barn, advising us to be very cautious, as the North Caro- 
lina Home Guards frequently came into that county, and 
robbed and burned without the least regard to person or 

The loyalists of that section had suffered fearfully. 
Marauders had frequently been through there, and stolen 
women's and children's clothes, broken open trunks and 
drawers, and carried off articles of which they had no 
need. They had stolen provisions, until the poor people 
were sometimes compelled to beg ; had applied the torch 
to the dwellings of lionest farmers before their eyes, and 
threatened to hang tliem if they complained of the out- 

We assured our protector, if we were discovered, that 
we would fully exculpate him ; that we would make 



oath, if need there were, that he knew nothing of our 
being in his barn. 

We crept under some fodder, and slept at intervals 
until morning, when we returned to the house and ate 
breakfast, while two of the old man's daughters stood 
picket. We then learned we had had several narrow 
escapes in coming down the mountain. We had been 
mistaken for Home Gruards ; and several of the bush- 
whackers had had their rifles leveled at us, when some 
fortunate circumstance intervened to prevent them from 
pulling the trigger. 

None of us were anxious to be shot, but if that was 
our destiny, we preferred to be perforated by a genuine 
Rebel rather than by our natural allies and political 

Our boots being cut and burst out, we set forth to find 
a cobbler, and did so. While we were waiting for the 
return of our foot-coverings, in a hay-loft, we were vis- 
ited by a number of bushwhackers, who wanted us to 
stay with them ; assuring us we would make excellent 
members of the profession. They related many of their 
adventures, and entertained us for some time, though 
we did not feel inclined to accept their proposition. Re- 
ceived a great deal of advice as to the best course for us 
to pursue ; and if the adage be sound, that in multiplicity 
of counselors there is safety, we should have been entirely 
out of danger. 

Heard a great deal about Home Guards, Rebel scouts, 
and cavalry ; were advised to stay where we were, and 
depart at once ; but as we could not do both, we con- 
cluded to remain in the neighborhood of Drake' s Creek 



until we could learn .something of the situation further 
on. The other party were in the vicinity, waiting, as we 
were, for information, which was very difficult of ohtain- 

We were naturally very anxious to learn where our 
forces were, having heard some miles back that they were 
at Peach Orchard, Tenn. It was then reported they were 
not there, but were certainly at Carter' s Depot, in Carter 
County, and that the cars were running to Greenville, on 
the East Tennessee and Virginia Railway. Our hearts 
leaped at that intelligence ; for we could make Green- 
ville in three or four days more. . Our hope of getting 
through to our lines became something tangible, and we 
had no higher boon to ask than Freedom, which, after the 
repair of oui" boots, we had less fear of losing through 
any failure of leather. 

After burrowing in the corn-husks of a barn, on the 
night of January 4th, we were informed by our Unionist 
friend that some hundreds of the enemy' s cavalry were 
reported coming down the road, and that, as they would 
certainly search all the stables and outhouses for fodder 
and horses, we had better flee to the mountains for con- 
cealment. We had had so many alarms that Tlie Tri- 
hune scribes put little faith in the story, and were dis- 
posed to lie still ; but as the others were uneasy, and 
extreme prudence is the best policy of unarmed men, we 
crawled out of our nests, and sallied forth into a bright, 
still, cold night, resembling, with the snow, the moun- 
tains, and the frosted pines, the Polar regions far more 
than the sunny South. 

The more we reflected on the report of the Rebel cav- 


ally tlie less we Ibelieved it ; and therefore, instead of 
climbing tlie monntains, we elected to invade some other 
shetl, in a more secluded place. We roamed about for 
two hours, like Scandinavian specters, over the rough, 
frozen, snow-covered ground, and at last crept into a 
barn, where I lay sleepless until morning, and almost 
frozen, being barely able to stand when I rose to my feet. 

Very weary and wearing was that species of existence ; 
but through the heavy clouds we had faith the sun 
would ere long break in golden glory. Eeferring to my 
note-book, I find these words : *' This experience will be 
pleasant some day to look back on, and talk about ; but it 
is difficult to undergo, req^niring all the patience and phi- 
losophy I can master. Any thing for freedom ! Though 
I perish in the effort to regain it, I shall not regret it, I am 
sure, if conscious in a future state of what has occurred 
in the present." 

That very day, January 5, we made preparations to 
go forward, having found an individual who said he 
would guide us to Carter' s Depot. Yery glad were we 
to be on the march once more, as we were tired enough 
of freezing in haystacks and corn-lofts, and skulking 
from barn to barn, from valley to mountain, from ridge 
to ravine. 

We met the second party, consisting of Sergeant Thurs- 
ton, the other two escaped prisoners, and the three Rebel 
deserters, at the cabin of a loyal woman, whose husband 
had gone- to the Yankees ; and after obtaining a hearty 
meal, and taking rations enough in our haversacks for 
two days, we waited for the guide. 

While we were waiting, several of us ascended an 


adjacent mountain, to see a party of Unionists who were 
lying out. Some of them had been in the Rebel service, 
and others had fled from home to avoid conscription. 
They had been living in rude huts or holes in the ground 
for twelve, some for twenty-four months, obtaining pro- 
visions from their relatives or friends, but never remain- 
ing at home or sleeping in a bed for a single night. 

The men were hardy, determined fellows, only violent 
when they spoke of the enemies of the country and the 
wrong they had suffered at their hands. They all had 
their stories of outrage and wrong to relate ; and no one 
who heard them could refrain from pitying their condi- 
tion, and sharing their hatred of the Rebels. 




Traveling in that Region. — Passage of the Piney and Stone Mountains. — Cross- 
ing the "Watauga River. — Invitation to a FroUc. — Peculiar Reason for our 
Declination. — Recklessness Engendered by our Situation. — Meeting with Dan 
Ellis, the Pilot, and his Party. — His Kindness and Generosity. — The Effect of 
Apple Brandy. — Mysterious Disappearance of a Bohemian. — Severe Marching. 
— Strain on the Nervous System. — Reports of Rebels in our Vicinity. — A 
Valuable Steed and his Fate. — Anxiety of our Guides to Meet the Enemy. 

The guide arrived at the cabin albont three o'clock in 
the afternoon, and we set out at once for Carter' s depot. 
We crossed Piney and Stone Mountains, the steepest 
and most difficult we had encountered, and had a fine view 
of the Alleghanies from their summit. They reminded 
me of an earth-storm ; the barren peaks looking like vast 
billows frozen into stone. The snow was some twelve 
inches deep, and the march arduous, but romantic. We 
slipped, tumbled, and fell along in the most ludicrous 
style, and tore our newly mended boots worse than ever. 
Leather appeared to have no power to endure those 
mountain marches. It was like paper against the sharp 
stones and rough rocks. 

We had not proceeded more than twelve miles before 
our pilot said he must return. We told him he had 
promised to take us to Carter's depot ; but he vowed he 
had not ; though he would do it if his wife were not sick, 


and in need of Ms attention. We offered Mm any re- 
mnneration if lie would accompany us ; even proposed to 
pay for liis consort sliould she die in Ms absence ; but lie 
would not be persuaded or Mred, and we were compelled 
to give Mm up, though very reluctantly. 

Kindling a fire in one of the gorges, we sat by it until 
dark, when we continued our march under our own 
supervision. We stopped at the house of a Tennessee 
clergyman about ten o'clock, and there had an ample 
meal. He was a fine specimen of an upright, bold, out- 
spoken loyalist. He had four sons in the Union service ; 
said he wished he had four more, and that he would have 
been there himself if Ms years and health would have 
allowed him to be. He congratulated us on our escape, 
and said he would pray for our safe arrival within our 
lines ; told us what direction to take, and what people to 
see, regretting he could not pilot us Mmself on account 
of Ms rheumatism. 

After resting we proceeded, and about three o'clock 
the next morning reached the farm to which we had been 
directed, and, as usual, went to the barn — having made 
some eighteen miles from the last settlement. 'No sleep 
worthy the name, of course ; arose from our couch of hay 
about eight o' clock, January 6, and accepted our host' s 
invitation to breakfast with remarkable promptness. He 
told us we were in quite a secure region, and that there 
would be little danger in traveling to and along the 
Watauga River by da^dight. 

We took him at his word, bathed in Roan's Creek, and 
felt refreshed and lighter-spirited. We had a pleasant 
ramble along the Watauga, which reminded me of the 


Kentucky River, Ibeing quite picturesque and romantic, 
for eight miles, wlien we crossed in a canoe to Carter 
County, and, going to one of our cordon of Union men, 
received a warm welcome, and the best and freest of his 
hospitality. We slept in a bed, with more comfort than 
usual, undetermined whether to wait for some time or 
push on the next day. We heard all the Rebels had left 
below, and were once more assured that our forces held 
Grreenville, but not Carter's depot. Wa breathed more 
and more freely as we progressed, the prospect of freedom 
growing brighter every day. 

Where we then were we met a number of Union Ten- 
nessee soldiers, who had come home on furlough, some 
of whom were soon to return to their regiments. They 
were going about very openly, giving us an idea there 
was not much danger in that neighborhood from the 

They even had what they called a ''frolic" one night, 
and invited us ; but, as we had no arms, we did not deem 
it prudent to go ; for it was not unusual for the Home 
Guards to surround the houses in which the company 
gathered, and shoot the men as they went out. 

Several cases of the kind had occurred a few weeks 
before our arrival in Wilkes County ; and when the de- 
serters were gathered in force, they would invite the 
Guard to call again ; but, when expected and prepared 
for, they invariably stayed away. 

I remember some years ago, in 'New Orleans, I was 
am^used to see in the papers advertisements of masquer- 
ades, to the effect that gentlemen were requested to leave 
their weapons at the door. But not until I became a fugi- 


tive in Secessia had I ever declined an invitation to join 
a social circle because I had no weapons to take there 
with me. 

Unique country that, and peculiar state of society down, 
there, particularly since the War ! 

Our party had been entertained, from the time of its 
escape, by assurances of people we met along the road 
that we were likely to be shot at any time b}^ our friends 
from the brushy or in the mountain passages. 

Life was evidently of no value in the sections through 
which we passed, as we learned from the stories of mur- 
ders and butcheries almost daily told. That wild moun- 
tain life generated recklessness and indiiference, no doubt, 
as we ourselves experienced. Though seemingly in the 
midst of perpetual danger, we cared little, if any thing, 
for t;^e possibilities or probabilities of the future ; but 
often amused ourselves with representing how "our 
special Correspondent" would appear with a rope about 
his neck, or a bullet through his brain. 

On the whole, that nervousness we expected to have 
on the march through the enemy's country, and that con- 
stant anxiety about our capture or massacre, we did not 
feel to any extent. "\Ye determined to do all that lay in 
our power to effect our escape and reach our Imes, and 
left the result in tlie hands of the Gods. We became for 
the time being fatalists, as most men are prone to who 
lead hazardous lives, and were resolved not to worry 
ourselves about the Unseen, or entertain grave apprehen- 
sions respecting the Untried. 

About noon of January 7, our host agreed to take 
us across the country by a secret path to a relative of 


his, residing on the banks of the Watauga ; telling us that 
a famous guide, Dan Ellis, of whom we had heard a great 
deal, was soon to go through to our lines with a party, 
and that, if we could strike him, there would he little 
danger of our failure to seeing our freedom. That was 
exactly what we wanted, and we marched off very 
hriskly ; crossed the river ahout three o'clock in the after- 
noon, and were soon comfortably ensconced by the fire- 
side of the most comfortable dwelling we had seen on our 

At that resting-place we converted ourselves into 
washer- women, going out on the bank of the river, light- 
ing a huge fire under an iron kettle, and abluting our 
under-clothes Avith more energy than skill ; and all night, 
though it was frosty, denuding and bathing ourselves in 
the stream. Of course we must have felt quite secure to 
do those things, and we did, from the fact that the house 
where we were stopping was on the other side of the 
river from the road — the stream was so high, too, as to be 
unfordable, and situated in front of a gap between the 
mountains, furnishing an excellent means of retreat if we 
were pursued. • It was really an intrenched position, and 
we could afford to expose ourselves there. 

Sunday, January 8, we deemed it well to push forward 
to the rendezvous from which Dan Ellis was to start that 
night. We crossed the river in the morning, and after 
going five miles found the other party, and took a boun- 
tiful luncheon, furnished by a generous-hearted Unionist, 
in an open field. We then set out for the rendezvous, 
and heard that Ellis would certainly be there. Soon after 
he sent word for the footmen to move on ; that he would 


speedily be along and overtake iis. Tliat was sufficient ; 
for Ellis' s word was not to be doubted. 

Our united party of seven escaped prisoners and three 
deserters started with, some fifteen more that had as- 
sembled to join Ellis, but had not gone more than two 
miles before the famous pilot was up with us. We three 
Correspondents were presented to Ellis, who assured us 
we should be put through in the right kind of style ; 
that all we had to do was to keep with him, if we wanted 
to see the Stars and Stripes again. 

His party was very miscellaneous, made up of Tennes- 
see Union soldiers, Rebel deserters, loyal Southern citi- 
zens, conscripts who would not serve, and escaped pris- 
oners. He had about twenty horses and mules, and he 
offered us Bohemians an opportunity to ride, which we 
accepted ; but I found the animal that I strode so slow 
and indolent that it tired me more to urge him along than 
to walk, and I dismounted after a mile of persevering 
toil to little purpose. 

Ellis loaned his mule to Mr. Richardson, and, carrying 
his carbine, which fired sixteen times without re-loading, 
walked more rapidly than almost any horse could. Most 
of his party were mountaineers, and quite fresh, while 
we had been twenty months in prison, and had then ac- 
complished over tAvo hundred miles under very adverse 
circumstances. I for one found it very difficult to keep 
up with the party at first, having fallen behind by being 
on that Rosinante, On several occasions I was compelled 
to run for more than a mile at a time, falling over logs 
and into streams in my usual fashion. 

I had grown so accustomed to falling in that mountain 


travel tliat it interfered very little with, my progress. I 
found I could get along about as weU. by standing on my 
head, turning somersaults, and performing acts of ground 
and lofty tumbling generally, as by regular pedestrianizing. 

That night' s march was tremendous. We went twenty- 
seven miles long before dawn, and found, after crossing 
the Il^olechucky, that we had lost several of our party, 
three mules, most of the rations, and I know not what else. 
The truth was, some of Ellis's men had drank too much 
apple brandy, becoming so intoxicated that they parted 
with their reason, and, when asked, could not tell where 
any thing was. One of them, indeed, really lost his iden- 
tity, and declared he was somebody else ; that the other 
fellow — giving his own name — was so d — d drunk that 
they had left him behind. 

Among the mysterious disappearances was Mr. Rich- 
ardson. It was supposed he had gotten behind, and that 
the mule had taken the wrong road. We were unwiUing 
to go on without T7ie Tribune scribe, so we bivouacked, 
and sent scouts out to obtain tidings of the missing indi- 
viduals. They all came to light, having run off the track 
by some means unknown to themselves. My associate 
trusted to his mule, and the mule, having delightfully 
original instincts, wandered off in a North-Easterly in- 
stead of a South- Westerly direction. The journalist, dis- 
covering his. confidence in the animal had been betrayed, 
concluded to suspend operations, and put up for the 
night on a log. When the morning dawned, he found a 
farmer who informed him of the right road, and in four 
hours after he was in our camp. The other mules were 
discovered, but the rations never revealed themselves. 


Monday, January 9, we quitted camp in Washington 
County about eleven o'clock in the morning, and set out 
to cross the mountains. Big Butt being the highest and 
hardest to climb of any we had seen. It is seven thou- 
sand feet above sea-level, and seven miles from summit 
to base. By Jove ! how we did toil up that steep ! It 
seemed as if we never would get up, and, once up, as if 
we never would get down. The horses and mules could 
hardly be dragged to the top, though they had notliing to 
carry. My strength and endurance were augmenting, 
although I rarely was able to sleep ; and that day I 
followed immediately behind Ellis until we had de- 
scended to the valley in Greene County, 

The rain and sleet had been falling for hours when we 
paused for the night ; we had had nothing to eat and we 
were quite wet. We had no shelter, but tried to arrange 
an old roof of a house, that had fallen down, for that 
purpose ; and failing to eifect it, Messrs. Davis and 
Richardson, and myself, undertook to discover some 
farm-house where we could procure food. We were 
successful in that, as well as in engaging a few bundles 
of corn-husks for a couch in a wretched fodder-loft. 
We rested far better than we had expected, owing, no 
doubt, to the extreme hardships we had undergone. 

For the first time, I felt a tremendous strain on my 
nervous system, caused by the fact that it was always 
on the rack while with Ellis, for fear, from his rapid 
movements, I should be left behind and lost, which was 
equivalent to forfeiting all hope of freedom, if not of 
life. Those mountain men never halted ; they rushed 
on without looking back or waiting for any one. They 


would go through a ravine or gorge, leap across a creek, 
dart into a laurel or an ivy thicket, and all trace of 
them l)e gone, though you were behind them only five 
seconds. I remember, after keeping at the head of the 
file for a number of hours, I stopped to give a soldier 
a drink from my canteen, and I lost nearly a mile. So 
it was. There was little resting, and instead of march- 
ing steadily and leisurely, they would go at a break- 
neck pace that fatigued all of us more in a mile than 
three miles would have done at an ordinary and regular 

My boots became more broken than ever on the 9th, 
and, having split across the joint of the foot, when they 
grew wet and shrank they gave me much pain in walk- 
ing. I began to be very anxious about getting through 
after my seven-leaguers showed such unmistakable signs 
of complete dissolution, knowing that to lose their use- 
fulness was to lose all else. 

. January 10. — We three procured a light breakfast 
at a farm-house, proving much more fortunate than 
most of our companions, who were half famished. Heard 
an immense deal about Rebels — ^that there were several 
squads in the neighborhood, and so many scouting the 
country that it was hardly possible to get through. 
Two men who had come from North Carolina with us 
became alarmed and turned back, selling their horses 
to the highest bidder. 

Mr. Richardson purchased one of the steeds, and 
though neither very fleet nor handsome, he had quali- 
ties to wear — out his rider. My confrere was much 
exhausted, and needed an animal to ride, even if it did 


not appear well, or evince any indications of patrician 
lineage. He rode the beast through, to Strawberry Plains, 
and then paid a negro ten dollars to give him Christian 
burial, which he deserved, for the service he had ren- 
dered. The poor horse did not wish to defer his ob- 
sequies, for, having eaten several bushels of corn, he 
exploded into so many pieces that they could not be 
collected for interment. 

Poor Rosinante was not a serious loss ; for, although 
my associate paid fifty dollars in treasury notes for him, 
his original cost, with eleven other animals like him, 
was at the rate of five dollars per dozen in Rebel cur- 

The rain continued to fall steadily, and we were all 
drenched ; the roads becoming almost impassable from 
mud. About eleven o'clock the sky cleared, and we 
resumed our march on the alert for the enemy ; having 
no fear of any small squad, for there were eight or ten 
carbines in Ellis' s party, and as many revolvers, which 
the owners knew how to use, as the Rebels had learned 
in past times to their cost. At least ten of the Unionists 
were old scouts and rangers, who had frequently en- 
gaged the "Confederates," and, so far from being 
desirous to avoid them, were extremely anxious to come 
in collision with any thing like their own number ; feeling 
confident, as they expressed it, that they could " sweeten 
their coffee" for them in a very few minutes. 




Sketch of his Life and Career. — His uncompromising Loyalty.— Efforts to 
Suppress him. — His success as a Pilot. — Mode of Joining his Expeditions. — His 
Adventures and Narrow Escapes. — His Attachment to his Carbine. — His 
Opinion of the Confederacy. — A Rebel Officer's Views of his Usefulness to 
the Union Cause. 

Dan Ellis, or Captain Dan Ellis, as lie is often called, 
is one of the notabilities of East Tennessee. He is a native 
of Carter County, and one of the most ultra and irrepres- 
sible Unionists in that extremely loyal section. From the 
beginning of the troubles, he took a most decided stand 
for the Government, and has maintained it ever since. 
He was at all times open, bold, and decided in his oppo- 
sition to, and hatred of, the Rebels, and declared, what- 
ever temporary success they might have, they would be 
ultimately crushed, and the so-called "Confederacy" 
with them. 

Ellis is about thirty-five years old ; rather slight, but 
muscular, and agile as a cat ; of vigorous constitution and 
immense endurance ; brave as Belisarius, but prudent and 
cunning ; entirely familiar with the country within a ra- 
dius of four or five hundred miles ; accustomed to all the 
hardships and adventures of frontier life ; candid, gener- 
ous, and amiable to everybody but the Rebels,^ whose 
right to existence he does not clearly perceive. 


Though uneducated, Ellis is intelligent, a close obser- 
ver, a good judge of men, strictly honest and abstemious, 
and, with all his fondness for a wild and reckless life, 
tenderly attached to his wife and children. He has the 
greatest regard for his word, and all who know him 
accept his simple statement with the most implicit faith. 
His promises every one relies on ; and among the people 
of his county, ' ' Dan Ellis says so' ' is an indubitable 
evidence of truthfulness. 

His outspoken sentiments at the inception of the Re- 
bellion, and Ms uncompromising hatred of the enemies of 
his country, soon made him a marked man, and excited 
against him the most violent hatred of the Secessionists. 
He was rather an unpleasant person to draw into a quar- 
rel, and therefore many of the traitors, who would have 
been delighted to find an excuse for attacking him, hesi- 
tated to do so, knowing his courage and determination, 
and the violence of his passions when once aroused. 

His foes tried to intimidate him, sending him warnings, 
and making the most sanguinary menaces. He heeded 
them not, but continued his labor on his farm, neither 
seeking nor avoiding quarrels if they were thrust upon 
him. Before the Summer of 1861 ended, he had several 
rencounters with Secessionists, and had been shot and 
stabbed once or twice, but not seriously. 

At last, so bitter was the feeling against Ellis, that 
numerous plots were formed to murder him ; and he 
would certainly have fallen a victim to some of them, 
had the designs of the villains not been revealed to him 
in season for his own security. Yielding to the solicita- 
tions of his wife and friends, he quitted his home, and 


resided in Kentucky for a wliile, but soon returned in 
the capacity of guide or pilot to those who wished to 
reach our lines. 

The qualities we have named admirably fitted him for 
that business ; and though he frequently took charge of 
parties of one and two hundred at a time, he always 
conducted them through safely. For many months Ellis 
piloted Unionists and Southern deserters all the way from 
Carter County to Louisville, Kentucky ; and, after the 
fall of Donelson, to ISTashville, Tennessee. 

For a year and a half previous to our meeting him, he 
had been piloting parties to Knoxville ; and so well was 
he acquainted with the men, women, and children belong- 
ing to every loyal family in Western North Carolina and 
East Tennessee, and with every by-road and bridle-path 
and mountain way and ford of river and of stream, that 
there was little fear of his failing to take those under his 
guidance to their destination. Indeed, those who knew 
Ellis best, said the Captain had never lost but one man, 
and that he was captured through his own indiscretion. 

Since the beginning of the war, Ellis, it is said, has con- 
ducted to our lines fully five thousand men, most of 
whom Avould have been forced into the Rebel service if 
they had remained in Secessia. His name is known all 
over Tennessee. He makes regular journeys between 
Knoxville and Carter County, and the time when he pro- 
poses to move from his own home to our lines is under- 
stood for miles around. All who want to go join his 
party on the way," he and his experienced scouts being 
in advance, and giving directions to the rest. 

Old men and boys, conscripts and deserters, sometimes 



women and children, flock to Ellis's cavalcade as it moves 
by, and lie takes the hest care of them, often purchas- 
ing provisions for those who have not the means. He 
makes no charge for his services, tliongh they who wish 
to remunerate him can do so. He has supplied a number 
of soldiers to the Tennessee Union regiments, and the 
Government has paid him for many that he has furnished, 
which, with the horses and mules he buys and sells, and 
not unfrequently confiscates, when they prove the pro- 
perty of Rebels, enables him to live ; and I understand he 
has accumulated a fair amount of property. 

The "Confederates" have declared he should not live 
in Tennessee ; but he has sworn he would, whether they 
like it or not, and he has kept his word. He is often ab- 
sent from his home in the mountains for months at a time ; 
but he generally sees his wife and children every few 
weeks, sometimes being compelled to steal into and out 
of the house. The Rebels have threatened to burn his 
house frequently, but have not carried theu* menaces into 
execution, — whether from the fact that his wife is a very 
amiable and kind-hearted woman, though as loyal, and al- 
most as courageous, as her husband, or that they fear the 
vengeance of her liege-lord, I cannot say. I presume 
it is from the latter reason. 

Ellis' s house has been surrounded a number of times by 
armed bands, on several occasions when he was there ; 
but he has either hidden where they could not find him, 
or gotten out surreptitiously, or run the gantlet of their 
fire without injury to himself. Few men have had more 
narrow escapes ; though he says the traitors have been 
trying to put his light out for four years, but that he does 


not think he was born to be hurt by them. He has be- 
come a predestinarian in the fullest sense of the term. 

All kinds of ingenious plans have been laid to entrap 
Ellis, but he has had so many friends among the people 
who would give him timely information, that he always 
contrived to defeat the purpose of his foes. They even 
set a price upon his head at one time, and Rebels skulked 
about his farm, for weeks, to shoot him. But, as several 
of them were shot while they were watching for Dan, 
they concluded it would not be worth their while to en- 
gage in the business permanently, and at once embraced 
safer and more profitable avocations. 

The poor and loyal people of East Tennessee have a 
most enthusiastic admiration for Ellis, and would secrete 
him, or work or fight for him, under any circumstances. 
He has been extremely kind to them ever; has given 
them provisions and money when they were in need ; 
brought dresses for the women and children, and en- 
deared himself to the loyal community in the most extra- 
ordinary manner. They all regard him as a very near 
friend, and if he were to be a candidate for any ofiice in 
that section, I venture to say he would obtain every vote 
of the laboring classes. 

The number of adventures Dan has had would make a 
large and very readable volume. He says little of them 
himself; but his companions informed me how many 
chases the Rebels had given him ; how they had emp- 
tied their cartridge-boxes at him again and again ; how 
they had shot through his hat, coat, and boots ; killed his 
horse, and pursued him on foot without injuring him seri- 
ously, or making him prisoner. They would not capture 


him, or if tliey did, they would dispatch him, as they 
have often threatened. They sent him word, once, that 
they wonld never take him prisoner, unless he ceased 
to assist ' ' citizens and soldiers of the Confederacy' ' through 
to the Union lines ; and his answer was, that he did not 
design to give them any opportunity ; hut that he would 
put every Union man in God' s country who wanted to 
go there, if the Rebels built a wall round the State five 
hundred feet high. 

Dan's carbine he never allows to go out of his hands, 
sleeping with it in his arms, and setting it at his side when 
he takes his meals. On one occasion he was pursued for 
at" least ten miles, through a mountainous region, and 
had emptied his piece of its sixteen cartridges ; but still, 
though his life depended on his rapid flight, he would 
not throw away his beloved carbine, heavy as it was, 
and much as it impeded his progress. 

"That old gun," said Ellis, "has saved me a dozen 
times ; and if the Rebels ever kill me, that carbine shall 
be the last thing I will hold on earth." 

"Give that up! throw that away!" exclaimed Dan, 
passionately, holding up the piece ; "why, it's my best 
friend ! I' d as soon think of giving up my wife as that 
old blazer ; without that, I' d have been under the sod 
long ago. Oh no, I can't let that go ;" and he drew Ms 
carbine to his breast as if it had been a woman, and his 
keen gray eye glistened with emotion at the very idea of 
parting with so old and faitliful a companion. 

During 1863, Ellis went to Kuoxville, and was elected 
Captain of a company of one of the loyal Tennessee regi- 
ments, mainly composed of men he had brought through 


the lines ; but after "being in the service a few months, the 
Commandant of the post told him he thought he could be 
of much more advantage to the cause and country by 
resuming his old avocation. Dan thought so too, say- 
ing the Army was rather dull after scouting, and gladly 
resigned to return to the wilder, more exciting, and daring 
life he had before followed. 

Many of Ellis' s friends were anxious he should remove 
his family from Carter County to Knoxville ; but he de- 
clared he would remain just where he was. "I worked 
and paid for that patch of ground," he remarked, "and 
I'm going to stay until the ' Confederacy' is moved down 
to the Gulf, and towed out to sea and sunk where there's 
no bottom. What's the use of my moving when the 
Rebels are moving so fast? Why, if I were to dodge 
around as the 'Confederacy' is doing, rolling up and 
growing thinner every day, I' d have no place to stand on 
— not even the last ditch. 'No, sir, I can't move a bit. 
Let the ' Confederacy' move off of my farm, where it has 
no business. I've only got to stay there a little while 
longer, and there won' t be any ' Confederacy' to move 
out of." 

Dan was right, as recent events have proved. 

No one man, I venture to say, in all Tennessee, has 
done more to injure the Rebels and the Rebel cause than 
Ellis. He has taken away their deserters and conscripts ; 
spread disaffection and despondency among the half- se- 
cessionists ; confiscated their horses and mules ; bush- 
whacked their soldiers and officers, and more or less 
demoralized the entire community in which he lived. 

Hundreds of persons, less strong and self-reliant than 


he, looked up to him for support and counsel. When 
the days of the Republic were darkest, he hade them he 
of good cheer ; when they were about to yield and go 
over to the enemy, he strengthened their weak knees, 
and pointed to a radiant future they could not see. 

One of the insurgent leaders said : "Ellis is worse than 
a Yankee regiment, and I would rather have one stationed 
in Carter County than have Dan there. Confound the 
Tory scoundrel ! he must be in league with the devil. We 
have hunted him, shot at him, put a price on his head, 
watched his house, and had him surrounded and almost 
in our hands a score of times ; and yet he always con- 
trives to give us the slip. 

" D him to H ! I'd rather hang him than Andy 

Johnson or old Brownlow. He's done us more harm, I 
believe, than both of those Tories, for he comes right into 
our midst, and finds out what we are doing ; and before 
we learn he is among us, he's off to Knoxville again, 
giving information to the Yankee authorities. If I could 
hang him, I'd die easier, I believe ; and I'd give my last 
nigger for the privilege ; I would, by Gr !" 




Pursuit of the Enemy. — Alarm and Separation of our Party. — Our Fair Guide. — 
Her Appearance and Antecedents. — Our Continued March. — Confiscation of 
Horses. — Our Last Night Out. — Sensations on Approaching tlie Union Lines. — • 
Chagrin of the Rebels at our Escape. — Their Absurd Stories about the 
Departed Boliemians. 

Early in the afternoon of January 10, we hear five or 
six of the hostile cavalry are in advance of ns only a few 
miles. Ellis immediately calls for those who have arms 
to follow him, and away they dash in pursuit of the 
foe ; while the rest of us, who are on foot and weaponless, 
trudge along the road toward Kelly' s Gap in the Nole- 
chucky mountains, arriving there just l)efore sunset. 

That was the appointed rendezvous, and Ellis and his 
party reached there about dusk, after a long and useless 
chase, and we prepared to camp for the night. Dan 
went to one of the Union houses, a few miles distant, and 
returned with the information that we were almost sur- 
rounded by the Rebels ; that it would be necessary for 
the horsemen to separate from the footmen, so that in the 
event of pursuit the latter would not be taken. 

All was activity at once. Those who had lain down, 
in the deserted and dilapidated cabins of the abandoned 
plantation to which we had repaired, were aroused. 


Horses and mules were saddled, fires extinguislied, and 
every preparation made for speedy departure. 

The cavalry were to move first, the infantry to fol- 
low, after the others had gone far enough in advance. 
Ellis offered me a mule — Richardson and Davis were 
mounted — but as it had no saddle, and I remembered my 
partial bisection the night we journeyed to the Union 
settlement in Wilkes County, I respectfully declined ; 
preferring to walk rather than to undergo a rej)etition of 
those tortures. I even gave Davis my quilt to use as a 
saddle-cloth, and bade my friends good-by, fully expect- 
ing to see them again in the morning, at the furthest. 

After they had been gone about half an hour, a scout 
named Treadway, who had been placed in charge of the 
footmen, told us to fall in ; that we were to cross a 
mountain and descend into a ravine, where we would 
camp until the next night. 

' ' But where are we to meet the other party V ' inquired 
I. " O, we won't see them again until we reach Knox- 
ville, if we ever have the good luck to get there." 

We had learned the day before, that all the stories 
about our forces being at Greenville and other adjacent 
points were without foundation ; that our lines were 
at Strawberry Plains, fifteen miles East of Knoxville ; 
and that we must go there before we could have any 
hope of freedom. 

That was nearly a hundred miles farther, and the in- 
telligence was rather disheartening, for we had been 
imagining our journey was nearly at an end. No doubt 
many of us felt like the North Carolinian of the party, 
who had been in prison nearly three years, when asked 


if lie was tired. "Tired?" echoed lie, witli a mingled 
air of disgust and contempt. "Wliy this would wear 
out an iron man." 

The reply of the scout : "We won't see them until we 
reach Knoxville," smote on my heart like the sound of 
my death-knell. 

Separation from my friends — the three 'companions 
with whom I had escaped, with whom I had endured so 
much in prison and on the march to freedom — seemed a 
calamity I could not bear. It foreshadowed to me every 
thing gloomy and horrible — recapture, dungeons, despair, 
and death. 

And while I stood there in the darkness — not to 
advance for twenty-four hours — they were every minute 
hurrying away, making the distance greater between us. 
They are going to freedom, I thought, and I am left 
behind. My doom is written. Liberty is not for me. 
I shall perish here in these mountains, and the few who 
feel an interest in me will never know my fate. 

Materially considered, too, I had lost my quilt, which 
had saved me much suffering, and I was penniless, my 
Bohemian brothers having all the money there was in 
our party. 

The record in my note-book is : "I have no more hope 
now of getting through ; yet will I do my utmost, and 
compel the strong spirit to rule the weak flesh, I will 
march till I fall fainting on the road from hunger, cold, 
and exhaustion. I am resolved never to give up. Still 
am I most worn, weary, and wretched ; and all my dark 
views of Human Life and Experience come up mentally 
darker and grimmer than before." 


The pedestrians proceeded to the ravine, and built a 
"big fire ; the weather was too cold to sleep. We were 
hungry, having had nothing to eat for twenty -four hours, 
and there was little prospect of getting any thing, 

Tlie scout went off somewhere, and left us alone, most 
of the party "being ignorant, silly, coarse, imprudent fel- 
lows—mere children in character, whom I could not 
induce to stand picket, or act cautiously about any thing. 
They disgusted me greatly, and I saw there was little 
safety with such simpletons. 

The scout returned, having visited a number of Union- 
ists, who reported us in a very dangerous vicinity ; that 
we yet had many perils to encounter, and must be ex- 
tremely cautious if we wanted to reach our lines. The 
worst of our perils, it seemed to me, were hunger, cold, 
and exhaustion. 

About noon we had an alarm from some Rebel cavalry, 
who passed along a road so near us that we distinctly 
heard their words. Supposing they had seen us, we pre- 
cipitately left our camp fire, and ran up the mountain 
in fine confusion. After running at high speed for some 
hundreds of yards, I paused to observe if any one was 
following us ; and perceiving no one, I called out, and 
we all stopped ; then reconnoitered ; then returned to our 
camping-place. The fire of dry wood was still burning 
in the chilly, crisp air, and several haversacks and 
blankets, left in the rapidity of retreat, lay there undis- 
turbed. It was evident the enemy had not known of 
our whereabouts, and had passed on unconscious of our 

Toward evening I began to be resigned to my new sit- 


uation, liavuig the consolation of knowing tliat tlie sep- 
aration between me and my companions would, prevent 
the probability of the recapture or extermination of all 
of us. The fate of Tlie Tribune Correspondents was at 
least likely, under existing circumstances, to be different. 
If Mr. Richardson •were retaken, I might get through ; 
if I were retaken, he might. 

Just before leaving the ravine the scout obtained some 
provisions for us, which we enjoyed after our long fast. 
We then started at a break-neck pace over the ridges, 
falling every few hundred yards so violently that I mar- 
veled some of us did ' not break our limbs. Once my 
knee came in contact "vvith the root of a tree so forcibly that 
it seemed shattered, and I did not recover from the sore- 
ness and lameness occasioned by the fall for days after. 

About sunset our party was on the summit of a ridge 
looking down into the valley where resided a girl who, 
the night previous, had guided Dan Ellis and his com- 
panions, by a private path, out of the way of the Rebels 
believed to be in the vicinity. For more than an hour 
we sat there watching the house in which she lived, and 
seeing ten or twelve Rebel cavalrymen ride up to the 
dwelling, and then depart in squads of two or three. At 
dusk we descended to the valley cautiously, and met her 
at the appointed place, mounted, and ready to act as our 
guide. That girl, not more than sixteen or seventeen, 
belonging to one of the stanchest loyal families in East 
Tennessee, was known to all the Unionists in the county. 
She had assisted many true men out of awkward pre- 
dicaments and dangerous situations, and had shown 
herself willing at all times to aid them. She had often 


arisen at night wlien slie obtained intelligence of impor- 
tance, and communicated it to loyalists some miles dis- 
tant, preventing their capture or murder by the enemy. 

Ellis had known her from childhood, and depended on 
her for information whenever he was anywhere in her 
neighborhood. She had told him till preceding night of 
the presence of the enemy, and recommended the divi- 
sion of his band, as pursuit was possible ; assuring him 
that she would guide the footmen, as she would him, if 
they would be at a certain place at a certain hour. 

The girl, whose name I will not give — though I can 
state, for the benefit of the romantic, that it is a pretty 
one, and would sound well in a novel — was decidedly fair, 
intelligent, of graceful figure, and possessed of that indis- 
pensable requisite to an agreeable woman — a sweet voice. 

I confess I looked at her with some degree of admira- 
tion as she sat there, calm, smiling, comely, with the 
warm blood of youth flushing in her cheek, under the 
flood of mellow moonlight that bathed all the landscape 
in poetic softness and picturesque beauty. 

It was natural that almost any man of gallantry and 
imagination should idealize her, under the circumstances ; 
but I did not. 

I gazed at her as I do at most of her sex, with the cold 
eye of Art, and at the unvarying angle of aesthetic criti- 

That scene was a good theme for a picture. The girl 
mounted, and the central figure, with some eighteen 
men in half military, half civil garb, with bronzed faces 
and a certain wild appearance, travel- stained, ragged, 
anxious-eyed, standing around her in groups, listening 


to what she said in a low Ibut earnest and pleasantly- 
modulated tone 

She gave directions as quietly and composedly as a 
veteran commander in the field, requesting us to keep 
some distance behind her ; saying that, if she were halted, 
we should stop, and lie down ; that, when all was safe,* 
she would cough ; and that, if she saw any danger, she 
would sneeze to give us warning. 

All ready, she struck her horse, a spirited animal, and 
darted off at a pace that we pedestrians could hardly 
sustain, even running. Confound that girl ! I thought. 
What does she rush along at this rate for 1 I have not 
had much experience in following in women's lead ; and 
if this is a specimen, I want no more of it. 

We were out of hreath, all of us, and had fallen so 
often in our haste, that we were suffering from numerous 
bruises and abrasions ; but she dashed on mercilessly, 
dragging us after her. 

I reached her side once, and told her to go a little 
slower ; that we were greatly fatigued, and that some of 
us must fall hopelessly behind if she did not check her 
pace. She drew in her rein until those who had been 
nearly distanced came up, and then only walked her 
impatient steed for the remainder of the distance. 

She guided us seven miles through woods and ravines, 
over mountains and along valleys, away from the fre- 
quented roads and paths, until we came to a long bridge 
over the l^olechucky River. We were fearful that might 
be guarded. So we waited on one side, while she crossed 
to the other. If she went on, we were to follow. If she 
stopped, we were to wait on the ridge where we lay con- 


cealed until slie returned to tell us what was in the 

Silently we crouched on the frosty ground, hearing her 
horse's hoofs ring out clearly and sharply upon the cold 
night on the planks of the bridge. But no challenging 
voice greeted our attentiye ear. The bridge must be 
unobstructed, we thought, as the hoofs grew fainter and 
fainter ; and, at last, when they were no longer audible, 
we knew she was on the road riding toward her sister's 
house^as she had told us she would — and that, her mis- 
sion accomplished, we had parted with our fair guide, 
and would see her no more. 

For the sake of my romantic readers, if I have any, I 
wish I could relate the occurrence of some sentimental 
scene between one of the Bohemians and the nameless 
heroine. It would look well on paper, and read well, 
too ; but, so far as I can learn, neither of my fellow-jour- 
nalists exchanged a word with her the night before ; and 
as for myself, my only feeling toward her was one of irri- 
tation at her extreme haste, and my sole words — "Do go 
a little slower!" 

Toothing like sensational coloring, and sentimental 
glitter in composition. If I were not a conscientious 
journalist and a veracious historian, I should relate a 
parting interview with the fair stranger much after the 
manner of Contarini Fleming' s separation from the pretty 

I should tell how I, or somebody else, took her hand, 
and kissed her lips in the moonlight, and saw the tears 
start to her eyes ; how my heart, or some other person's 
heart, beat Avildly for a moment, as that vision of beauty, 


more beautiful in its sorrow, "beamed upon the wintry, 
Luna-lighted night, and then faded away forever. 

But, as nothing of the kind occurred, I shall say no- 
thing of the kind. I shall only wish the dear, devoted 
girl the truest and tenderest of lovers, and the brightest 
and happiest of lives. Upon her youthful head may the 
choicest benisons of Heaven fall unstinted ! May violets 
of beauty and lilies of sweetness bloom ever in her path- 
way, and fill with fragrance all her coming days. 

What was remarkable about the girl was, that none of 
the Rebels suspected her of giving active %id to the Union- 
ists. They knew she was loyal ; indeed, she did not deny 
her loyalty ; but, on the contrary, told them her sympathies 
were aU with the ]N"orth, and her most earnest wishes for 
the suppression of the Rebellion, 

She said what she pleased with impunity. She was 
young, pretty, and intelligent. Everybody liked and 
petted her as if she were a child, when she had the 
feelings, the earnestness, the convictions of a woman ; 
and, from her openness and candor, they presumed she 
told them all she did. They never dreamed of her secret 
excursions, her nightly expeditions, her communications 
with their enemies. 

The Southern officers were half in love with her, and 
told her, with great indiscretion, all their plans and ex- 
pectations, never imagining she would make use of them, 
which, of course, she did most eflfectually. No doubt, 
being feminine, and possessing feminine tact, she encour- 
aged her admirers sutficiently to elicit from them what 
information she needed, and, in that way, was enabled to 
be of invaluable service to her friends. 


For nearly four years, slie had devoted her time to the 
service of the Republic ; had risked her liberty, perhaps 
her life ; had acted the heroine on the stage of our great 
National Drama without the least self-consciousness, or 
any other inducement than her attachment to the cause. 

Her parents were in comfortable circumstances, quite 
wealthy, indeed, for that region, and had given her a very 
fair education, and some accomplishments which were 
very remarkable for a girl reared in the rural regions of 
the South. She had been petted and flattered by Seces- 
sionists of botli*sexes, who had in vain attempted to 
seduce her from her allegiance ; but she ever remained 
true to her country, and to those who befriended it in the 
time of its extremest need. 

That she may some day be generously compensated in 
a higher than material form for her services, is my earnest 
hope and desire ; though I feel assured that recent events, 
establishing the integrity of the Republic, will be to her 
the most precious reward she could receive. 

After leaving the heroic girl we marched seventeen 
miles, camping on top of a mountain about two o'clock 
in the morning, and kindling a fire, when I crept under a 
blanket that one of my companions kindly offered me. 

Before reaching our camp, I had been an involuntary 
witness and apparent sharer in an enterprise which I did 
not anticipate and could not countenance. The scout 
who was our guide had heard that a notorious Rebel was 
at the house of his father-in-law, and accordingly went 
there in search of him. He told us to surround the 
house, and Ave did so — for what purpose I did not know. 
He then began beating on the door, and crying to the 


"d d scoundrel" — tliat was the mildest of Ms epi- 
thets — to come forth, or he would blow out Ms brains. 

An old man and woman came to the door, and declared 
their son-in-law was not at home. They were greatly 
frightened, and I felt very sorry for them, and would not 
have seen them hurt if I could have prevented it. !N"o one 
threatened them ; but many of the Tennesseeans swore 
and bellowed so loudly, that I do not wonder the poor 
people were alarmed. 

" Where are that d d traitor's horses ?" was roared 

out a dozen times in a quarter of a minute. The old man 
showed the way to the stable, and in a brief while the 
two animals were bridled and saddled, and two of the 
Tennesseeans on their backs riding away. 

The horses belonged to the Rebel, who was an officer 
in some guerrilla band, and no doubt ought to have been 
confiscated, but I could not reconcile myself to the con- 
fiscation, which seemed to me very much like vulgar 
horse- stealing ; and I inwardly determined, if my fellow- 
travelers designed making a general business of that de- 
partment of fine art, that I should separate from them, 
and journey towards freedom on my own account. 

I had quitted Salisbury to obtain liberty, not horses ; 
and it did not appear that my prospects for the former 
would be materially augmented by any acquisition of the 
latter. Fortunately, however, there were no more confis- 
cations on the route ; and consequently I had no occasion 
to put my determination in practice. 

That equine appropriation was about tlie last adventure 
we had. At dusk on the evening of January 12, we 
eet out for Russellville — eighteen miles distant — crossing 



Lick Creek, and passing into the corner of Hawkins and 
into Granger Counties "before four o'clock the follomng 

We struck the Virginia and East Tennessee Railway at 
Cheek' s Cross Roads, and walked at a rapid rate to our 
camp, where we bivouacked. We learned after dawn that 
Ellis' s party were safe, and had camped where we were 
the night previous. Our guide told me that the coming 
night (Friday, January 13th) would probably be the 
last we would be out ; I truly hoped so. My boots were 
worn out ; my attire in rags ; my nervous system strangely 
sensitive, and perhaps deranged, from absence of sleep 
and constant exertion, with long fasts and perpetual anx- 
iety. Yet I felt a degree of strength and freshness that 
was extraordinary, under the circumstances. I was calm 
withal, and unagitated, although freedom seemed so near 
at hand. Indeed, the idea of Liberty I could not realize 
— it seemed too great a blessing to be enjoyed. I often 
asked myself: " Shall I indeed see the dear old flag, and 
breathe the free air of the North once more ?" 

We had nothing throughout Friday but a little corn, 
which we parched in the ashes of our camp-fires, until 
just before setting out, when we procured the best meal 
we had had. The Tennessee scout accompanied us until 
we struck the railway again, and there left us, having, as 
he said, some important business to transact on the mor- 

Always before, Freedom, as I have said, had seemed too 
blissful to be realized ; but when I found myself within 
one night' s march of our glorious destination, I could no 
longer doubt that on the morrow I might plant my foot 


on loyal soil, and again iDehold the glitter of Union Ibay- 

I was filled -with a new life : I could not l)e restrained : 
my blood tingled : my pulses leaped : my wliole being 

Rapidly I walked along the broken railway. The 
mile- stones seemed to whirl by me as if I were on an 

The wind was from the N'orth — keen, cutting, penetra- 
ting ; I loved it because it was from the ISTorth — and I still 
was very thinly clad. 

But I felt not the low temperature : a blast from an ice- 
berg would not have chilled m*e. 

Within me was the sacred fire that has made martyrs 
and heroes through ages, — the fire which the love of 
Liberty has lighted, and which will burn forever. 

My companions, fatigued and exhausted and half- 
frozen, fell off one by one, and in little squads. But 
a single man remained, a tall, stalwart, muscular fellow ; 
and he declared he would go with me to the end. 

On, on, on we went, faster, faster, faster. 

The mile- stones still whirled by like ghosts of departed 
fears and expired miseries. 

Colder and colder blew the wind ; but it was more 
grateful than breezes from Araby the Blest. The night 
was dark and lowering ; but to me the heavens were 
lighted as with an auroral splendor. 

Through the encompassing shadows I fancied visions 
of beauty and landscapes of delight. The arid plain 
blossomed with association, and the bow of promise 
spanned every accomplished mile. 


Just before the dawn, the fires of the Union pickets 
crimsonedthe somber sky in our front, and a few minutes 
of hurried striding .brought us within the voice of the 
challenging sentinel. 

" Who comes there V — " Friends without the counter- 
sign — escaped prisoners from Salisbury," was the an- 
swer. "All right, boys; glad to see you," again awoke 
the silence ; and I walked within the lines that divided 
Freedom, Enlightenment, Loyalty, from Slavery, Bigotry, 
Treachery ; was once more an American citizen, emanci- 
pated, regenerated, and disenthralled. 

Still from habit I looked to the West, whither the pole 
of my spirit so many anxious days had pointed, and I 
beheld there, as in the East, the coming dawn, typified 
in the dawn of a better and prouder day for the Republic 
after its purifying baptism of blood ; and saw the star 
that all along our toilsome march had beamed toward us 
as the harbinger of the glorious to-morrow, when the tide 
of War that has swept over the regenerated Nation will 
have washed clean as polished amethyst the Slavery- 
stained record of ninety years. 

=/! -f: f: ^ ^ ft 'k 

Some weeks after our arrival in the North, we learned 
that all kinds of stories were in circulation in the Peni- 
tentiary about our escape. One was that a Rebel Gen- 
eral had come for us in a carriage, and borne us away — 
quite after the manner of the good princes in the Fairy 
Tales ; another, that we had obtained Southern ofiicers' 
uniforms and passed the guard ; a third, that we had 
bribed the sentinels ; a fourth, that we had tunneled out ; 
and I know not how many more, all of them equally untrue. 


As many of those stories came from liead-quarters, no 
doubt they were "believed by tlie Rebel officers there, 
who probably had no correct idea of our mode of exit. 

They seemed greatly agitated on the subject, and made 
every effort to recapture us ; sending out scouts to the 
East and West ; believing, I presume, that we had gone 
directly to Newbern or Morganton. 

We lay over the first night — Tuesday — that we got out, 
and, on the third night after the commencement of the 
march, quitted the railway near Statesville ; and to one 
of those facts, perhaps, we owe our avoidance of the 
scouts, who, however, hardly attempted to travel after 
dark, as we did almost constantly. 

When the scouts returned to the Penitentiary, after 
their unsuccessful search, some of the Rebel officers, both 
in Richmond and Salisbury, declared we had been caught, 
and sent farther South ; while others swore we had been 
shot by guerrillas. They seemed very unwilling to admit 
that we had gotten through, even after the Richmond 
papers had published the fact ; and from the tenacity 
with which they had held The Tribune Correspondents, 
it was natural they should feel a little chagrined that 
we were fairly out of their clutches. 

With thanks to none but ourselves we did re-obtain 
our liberty, making the journey from Salisbury to Knox- 
ville in eighteen traveling days, being the best time on 
record by the over-the-mountains-pedestrian-prisoner-line 
— one of the least convenient and comfortable routes 
while in progress, but the most satisfactory and delight- 
ful after its completion, in the known World. 




The Popular Idea of the South. — Its Fallaciousness. — Character of the South- 
erners. — Their Best Society. — Slavery and its Pernicious Influence. — The 
Eeal Cause of the Rebellion. — The Great Revolution in Pubhc Opinion. — Dis- 
graceful History of the Past. — Our National Atonement. 

The popular idea of tlie South in the North is, or used 
to Ibe, rather, as singular as erroneous. The South was 
excessively idealized, even in the minds of persons little 
troubled with imagination. They believed the country 
lying the other side of Mason and Dixon' s line, espe- 
cially the Cotton States, the home of Refinement and 
Culture, Beauty and Luxury, Elegance and Ease. 

Few Northern travelers had journeyed to or dwelt in 
the farther sections of the South ; and those who had, 
had done so to little purpose, seeing with the eyes of 
people among whom they went, rather than with their 

Southerners had gasconaded so persistently and per- 
petually about their sunny homes, their floral fields, 
their orange groves, their statue-bordered walks, their 
sparkling fountains, and their palatial residences, with 
many other highly colored phrases that might have 
dropped out of Claude Melnotte' s sophomorical descrip- 
tion of the Lake of Como, that those who heard and read 
what they said, actually believed them literally. 


Northerners, living in a region comparatively unfertile, 
to be sure, but cultivated and useful, productive and 
picturesque far beyond that of tlieir rodomontadio 
neighbors, really began to think, even came to the set- 
tled conviction, that they were little blessed ; that their 
school-houses and academies and daily newspapers and 
galleries of art went for nothing, brought in juxtaposi- 
tion with the sandy cotton and unwholesome rice-fields, 
the miasmatic marshes and muddy lagunes of the Gulf 

They knew there were fine men and lovable women 
among the hills of New England and on the prairies of 
the great West ; but the most exquisite gentlemen and 
the most charming ladies must be sought in the Southern 

Marvelous mistake, extraordinary delusion ! The hun- 
dreds of thousands of our soldiers who have "invaded" 
Dixie- have had ample opportunities to undeceive them- 
selves since the War. They have found out, what the 
unbiased and observing found out long before, that the 
South is a large sham ; that the beauty of its scenery, 
the generosity of its people, the splendor of its homes, 
the luxury of its surroifndings, exist only in the imagin- 
ation ; that negroes and indolence, swagger and igno- 
rance, are the poor bits of glass which have assumed such 
attractive forms in the kaleidoscope of Fancy. 

Of course there are a few genuine gentlemen and ladies 
in the South— or were at least, before the War— who are 
such in spite, not on account of the peculiar institution ; 
whom even that great wrong- and unnatural condition 
have not blunted or brutalized. 


But as for the many, wliat are they ? 

Uneducated, coarse, ignorant, vulgar people, who have 

no idea of comfort or convenience ; but live in wretched 

cabins, on pork, corn-bread, and hominy, thanking God 

^ they are not negroes, but having no conception of a 

higher or worthier existence. 

Even the oligarchs, the privileged few, who hold 
slaves, and rule the whites as thoroughly, though in a 
different way, as they do their human chattels, have little 
to boast of. 

They have wealth and education, generally. They 
have expanded their area of observation. They have 
been in the North, and sometimes in Europe. They 
have learned there is a World outside of plantation 
limits and negro quarters. They are as broad, perhaps, 
as men can be who are born, and reared, and pass tlieir 
lives in the midst of Slavery and its narrowing and 
blighting influences. 

Yet, their best Civilization is of a mediaeval character. 
Compared to the free JSTorth, they are a half a century 
behind the age. They are semi-barbarians. Their gen- 
erosity is carelessness ; their hospitality, vanity ; their 
frankness a lack of self-discipliife ; their bravery i)hys- 
ical rather than mental, and fostered by a false stand- 
ard of honor and a pernicious notion of chivalry. 

The virtues that appertain to them are the virtues of 
an imperfectly developed race, and peculiar to their form 
of society. They are self-loving to a degree of morbidity ; 
amiable and anxious to be agreeable while they are whee- 
dled and flattered ; but impatient of contradiction and 
restraint, and violent, unjust, and cruel when opposed or 


thwarted, even "by those they have assnmed to regard as 
their dearest friends. 

They are a little more than intelligent harharians, the 
Ibest of them ; nor is it strange, when we reflect that they 
are ever exposed to the haleful influences of Slavery. 

What can be expected of men who found their ideas 
of superiority upon their elevation ahove an ignorant, 
persecuted, servile race, who are in the habit of beat- 
ing, or seeing beaten, men, women, and children ; of in- 
dulging their basest passions with the unfortunate females 
who dare not oppose their desires ; and in whose embraces 
they degrade themselves even more than the sable partners 
of their lust. 

Respecting the mode of living, how unwise they are ! 
They have profusion, but not propriety ; liberality, but 
not taste ; abundance, but not fineness. Nothing is com- 
plete with them. Elegance and fitness are things un- 
known, and aught like harmony is ignored. 

Their dwellings, grounds, furniture, and table show this. 
There is ever somewhat lacking in one place, and some-, 
what of excess in another. Nothing is finished ; nothing 
is repaired. The trail of the negro is over them all. 

They imbibe all the defects of the slaves, with none of 
their virtues. They seem indeed to be ruled, rather than 
the ruling race, since they take hue, and tone, and habit, 
from their dusky bondsmen. They have their deceitful- 
ness, indolence, animalism, and even their accent. 

On them, and their section, the negro is indelibly 
stamped, and all their interests, purposes, and performan- 
ces are made subservient to the peculiar institution. It 
is that which has mildewed the South, which has drained 


tlie spirit of progress, and has made lier the disloyal, 
purblind, violent wrong-doer she long ago became, and 
which generated in her the cnlminating folly and crime 
of Secession. 

I remember, when the "War first broke out, a Virginian 
of education and wealth, and a slaveholder in Missouri, 
but still a Unionist, who, deprecating the Rebellion, told 
me how, in that State, every interest had been made sub- 
servient to Slavery. 

When the thinking and progressive people wanted 
schools, the Pro-Slavery party opposed the measure, 
because, if they had schools, they must have teachers, 
and teachers must be brought from the Abolition Free 

When manufactures were advocated in Missouri, they 
were decried, because the operatives must be N^orthern- 
ers, and haters of the peculiar institution. 

Railways were unpopular with the men who afterward 
blossomed into Secessionists, for the reason that the 
roads would furnish facilities to fugitive slaves for 

So, through and for Slavery, every measure for the 
development and prosperity of the State was discour- 
aged, misrepresented, and counteracted as far as possible, 
and all advocates of reform and advancement denounced 
as Abolitionists. The history of Missouri has been the 
history of every other Southern State, except that the 
feeling of opposition and the determination to stagnancy 
have been augmented in the Cotton regions. 

Slavery, from the beginning, has been the curse of the 
Republic, and the sole cause that threatened its dissolu- 


tion. It is, and always was, this very War in a state of 
suppression. No one need say that the Rebellion has 
proved the impracticability of self-government. It has 
merely proved that two irreconcilable elements — two 
utterly different systems of labor, engendering opposite 
customs and conditions of society — must sooner or later 
clash, and struggle with each other for the mastery. 

All the talk and theories in the Rebel papers about the 
difference of race — about the Cavaliers and Puritans — 
in the early settlers of Southern and Northern States, is 
the merest gallimatia. The only difference there is 
between the two sections has been made by Slavery. 

And as to the War, it was certain to come. Every 
possible effort was made to stave it off— as the history of 
our compromises — compromises too often of principle 
with temporary interest — abundantly shows ; but human 
endeavor was useless. The cause lay deeper than it was 
thought, and could not be reached by public enactments 
or plausible harangues. 

Our forefathers, for mere expediency, had compromised 
with a palpable injustice, a grievous wrong ; and we 
were compelled to pay the penalty. They, no doubt, 
regarded Sl§.very as a temporary thing, which would be 
abrogated in the South, as it was in the North, after a 
few years. 

They did not see — nor could any one then have seen — 
what an immense interest cotton would become, through 
the invention of the cotton-gin, and how millions of 
people would be ma9.e insane, by consulting what they 
conceived to be their pecuniary advantages. 

To Slavery — and it alone — we may justly ascribe aU 


the calamities of the JSTation, all the horrors of this 

The loyal people did not perceive this at first ; iDut now 
their minds have been illumined hy remorselessly logical 
events and indubitahle facts. Hence they have grown 
Abolitionists ; not so much, I am sorry to say, out of 
their sympathy with the negroes, as out of a cold and 
calm consideration that, inasmuch as Slavery generated 
the Rebellion, there never can be a permanent peace, so 
long as any part of the territory embraced within the 
United States is cursed with the power to hold human 
beings in bondage. So feeling and believing, they have 
determined to have no more of it, and they have done 

Very useless and idle is it, therefore, to speculate on 
the immediate causes of the War. 

Mr. Lincoln's election was made the pretext by the 
South ; but if the advocates of State Rights had not had 
that pretext, they would have found another. They had 
remained in the Union so long as they held the political 

When they lost it — when they saw the progress of the 
Anti- Slavery sentiment had been such that they never 
could hope to regain what had slipped away from them, 
they resolved to destroy the Government they could no 
longer control. They tried it, and they have destroyed 
— themselves. 

What a wonderful revolution has taken place in public 
opinion in a few years ! Few of my readers, I fancy, 
who do not remember when they would have felt grossly 
insulted if they had been called "Abolitionists." But, 


I opine, there are still fewer at present who are not proud 
to know that they are Abolitionists. 

That once huge bugbear has lost its power to frighten. 
Men are no longer children, to be terriiied by a word. 
The term of odium has become an expression of praise ; 
and men of this age and generation will be proud to say, 
in the future : "I was an Abolitionist in the days of the 
great Rebellion." 

The scales have but begun to fall from the eyes of the 
people. They have just commenced to perceive the 
anomaly, the anachronism, the enormity and crime of 
Slavery, "The land of the free and the home of the 
brave," shouted on every possible occasion, for half a 
century, and containing the most bitter satire on the in- 
stitutions of the country, means something at last ; and 
an American can sing it now without a shame. 

Unborn generations will wonder at the fact that the 
model Republic, for nearly a century, not only permitted 
Slavery, but went down on its knees before the Slave 
power, and prayed for a deeper humiliation. 

Whose cheek does not tingle when he thinks for how 
long a time the North succumbed to the South ; how long 
its representatives in Congress were insulted, bullied, 
and even assaulted, for words spoken in debate ; how 
long its Press played the sycophant, and groveled in the 
dust that the Slave State leaders shook with disgust from 
their feet ? 

. No history of a great Nation is more disgraceful than 
ours was for the twenty-five years previous to the War. 
Thank Heaven ! it will never be repeated, and that we 
bore all the ignominy and shame to preserve the Repub- 


lie and the Constitntion as we received tliem from tliose 
we had "been taught to honor as something more than 

If we were too conservative and reverential, it was 
only natural. When the first gun from Sumter sounded, 
our false scruples were scattered. We all became icono- 
clasts. Right then began to rule over Precedent, and 
Justice grew stronger than Authority. 

We have atoned for the errors of the Past by the 
sacrifices of the Present. We have hidden the fatal 
blunder of our ancestors behind the glory of our struggle 
for a people degraded and enslaved. 

We have lifted the age of romance and chivalry to a 
hight it never knew, from the time of Coeur de Lion to 
Francis I., by a long, obstinate, unyielding war, not for 
an idea only, but for humanity and freedom, for the very 
principle that underlies the foulidations of our Repub- 





Its Undeveloped Resources. — Its "Wealtliy Planters and the Northern Farmers. — 
Slave Labor and its Defects. — The Blighting Effect of the Peculiar Institution. 
— Contrast between the Free and Slave States. — Occupation of Secessia by 
the Yankees. — The Changes Consequent Thereupon. — The Much-Yexed ITegro 
Question. — The Rights of the Freedman. 

Iisr the preceding chapter, I have spoken of the un-, 
developed resources of the South ; of the uncomfortable 
manner of living there ; of the lack of accommodation 
and ease among the people ; which all who have 
traveled in what has since the War received the name of 
Secessia must have observed. 

The people were contented enough, with their slender 
means and small resources, because they had no higher 
ideas of living ; because they had not, to any extent, 
obtained a loftier standard from communication with the 

The prosperous and educated Southerners, having 
visited our leading cities and principal watering-places, 
of course learned something ; and their knowledge was 
made apparent by the improved order of architecture 
and laying- out of grounds which began to reveal them- 
selves, particularly a few years before the Rebellion. 

44:2 rouE YEAES m secessia. 

Yet, as I liave remarked, there w^s almost always a 
lack of completeness and taste, even in tlie houses of the 
wealthiest ]3lanters — a kind of barharic profusion without 
fitness, a sort of ostentation, without a just adaptation of 
means to the end. 

A species of coarseness ran through their mode of, 
living ; and one witnessed, in the dwellings of the cotton 
lords and sugar barons, less genuine comfort and elegance 
than could be found in the far less pretentious homes of 
JSTew England, 'New York, or Ohio farmers. 

All the labor was performed by negroes, and conse- 
quently but half done. No reforms were introduced, 
and no changes made. All the improved methods of 
agriculture, the new implements, the advantageous inno- 
vations of the North, were neglected at the South, and, 
where they were known, were regarded suspiciously, as 
the result of Yankee ideas, and therefore not to be 

If patent plows, reapers, thrashing-machines, or what 
not were introduced at the South, they soon got out 
of order, on account of the ignorance of the slaves, and 
were of course never repaired. 

The South did very little, until compelled by necessity, 
to establish manufactures of any kind, because they de- 
pended wholly upon the inventive genius and extra- 
ordinary energy of the "Yankees." 

The South was purely agricultural, and they believed 
they could do better by raising cotton, rice, tobacco, and 
sugar, than by attempting to make mills, engines, or 

They could not summon practical energy enough to 


furnisli for themselves wliat tliey needed, and they 
lacked the inventive faculty almost altogether. 

They had untold wealth at their very doors, in coal, 
iron, lead, and other minerals ; yet in very few of their 
States were the mines worked to any extent. 

Whatever passed into their possession seemed affected 
by the mildew of Slavery. A splendid carriage, pur- 
chased by a planter in the North, would very soon lose 
its polish and freshness, very probably a hub, and two 
or three spokes ; and these Avould hardly be replaced. 

A fine set of harness would soon part company with 
some of its buckles, which would be supplied with a 
broken twig and a tow string. 

A beautiful span of horses, all symmetry, mettle, and 
sleekness, would, in a few weeks after exchanging 
owners, appear rough, lean, and broken down, 

Babiecas would be transformed into Rosinantes, 
almost as suddenly as Cinderella's mice into prancing 

A grand piano required but a brief sojourn in a 
Southern home, to be deprived of its gloss and its tone, 
and mayhap one of its legs. 

And so with every thing else. Importation from the 
North to the South proved destructive to fine qualities, 
material as well as mental. 

Unremunerated compulsory labor manifested itself in 
every part of the South, in the way of stupidity, blun- 
ders, and inexcusable carelessness. 

Who that has ever steamed down the river, between 
Kentucky and Ohio, needed to be told which State was 
free, and which was Slave ? On one bank, neat, comfort- 



able dwellings and stirring farms looked across the beau- 
tiful river at poor cabins or dilapidated frame tenements, 
with uncleared fields, partially tilled, as if they won- 
dered at the unfinished appearance of their opposite 
neighbors. , 

In descending the Mississippi, low, bleak, and barren 
are the shores of the mighty stream, with their unvarying 
sand and their ghastly cotton-woods ! Even after reach- 
ing the coast country below Baton Rouge, the much- 
talked-of beauty disappoints him sorely. It is an agree- 
able contrast to what met his eye above, and to that fact 
I have always attributed the exaggerated notion of the 
delightfulness of the Louisiana coast. 

When the Rebellion is crushed ; when Slavery no 
longer blights the soil of the South ; when that section is 
settled, as it will be, by a new people, possessed of in- 
dustry, energy, and perseverance, how metamorphosed 
all that region will be ! 

The "barbarous Yankees" will supersede the chival- 
rous sons of the Cavaliers, and desert places will blossom 
like the rose. The mining and agricultural interests will 
be developed to their fullest, and wealth will be poured 
into the lap of the new-comers. 

Elegant villas, such as adorn the Hudson, will beam 
out of handsome groves, and marble fountains will 
sparkle where turbid pools have stood poisoning the 
atmosphere, and dilfusing fever and ague to all the 
country round. 

Factories, and school-houses, and graceful churches, 
will rise where cabins crumbled, and hay-ricks grew 
moldy in the pestilential air. 


The song of cheerful laborers will go gladly up to 
Heaven where the dusky Slave bent to his irksome toil 
beneath the overseer' s lash. 

The South, in that not distant future, will be actualized 
into the ideal through which it has been seen. 

I perceive it now, fruitful and glorious because of its 
freedom; gathering the harvest of abundance after its 
long period of bondage has passed away forever. 

Then, indeed, will it be the sunny South — sunny with 
sweet associations and happy memories ; beautiful with 
peace and benison ; grand with its history of an emanci- 
pated race and a regenerated Republic. 

Yery many of us have perplexed ourselves with the 
question, so often asked me while a prisoner, What will 
we do with the negroes? What will we do with the 
Rebels? is the first and most important interrogatory. 
That once settled — and it seems rapidly settling — the 
other will arrange itself in due season, as do all other 
things, by the force of Circumstance and the consequence 
of Universal Law. 

Nothing, however, let me remark, seems more incon- 
sistent and irrational than the supposition that the 
negroes, who have for generations raised the products of 
the South, while enslaved, will be unable to do so when 

The theory of the necessity for compulsory labor is a 
false one. 

There is no human creature living, black or white, who 
can not work as well, and far better, when free than 
when in bonds; when he has the genuine instincts of 
manhood in his breast, in place of the haunting and hope- 


less conviction of perpetual slavery ; when he is cheered 
with a golden future instead of being burdened with a 
rayless past. 

To declare the contrary is the worst form of doubt, the 
darkest shade of disbelief, the repudiation of ligature and 
her generous promptings. 

Whatever the fate of the Rebels, the land they once 
possessed will not be destroyed ; and the freedmen can 
certainly till, with their unshackled hands, the soil they 
have watered with their scalding tears and bloody 

The experiment will doubtless be tried, and it will be 
proved that the yield of rice and tobacco, and sugar and 
cotton, under the new system, will be far greater than 
under the old and degrading one. 

The climate of the South is favorable and congenial to 
the negro. Why should he not remain there if he so 
elects ? 

Let him, in the name of justice and humanity, reap 
something of the harvest for which he has suffered and 
fought, has bled and died ! 

The true principle of a free Government is to give 
every man a chance, whatever his station or antecedents. 
That we will give to the negro, as his right. ^N'o bugbear 
about negro equality will deter the people from meting 
out to the emancipated slave the long-demanded jus- 
tice of making to him that late atonement for what the 
country has compelled him to endure. 

The man who fears the African will become his equal, 
must have a shuddering conviction within that he merely 


needs an opportunity to become sucli. Away with the 
base appreliension ! 

The World was given to us all, to do the best work of 
which we are capable ; to try for its rewards ; to make 
endeavors for its happiness. 

Unworthy and ungenerous is he who asks what he is 
unwilling another should have. 

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, are our 
natural rights, the African' s as well as the Caucasian' s ; 
and I, for one, welcome the negro on the threshold of 
his new career, and bid him God speed in whatever he is 
able honestly to obtain ! 


While this volume has been in press, and the proof- 
sheets has been undergoing revision, the great Rebellion 
has been hastening to its close, and may now be consid- 
ered fairly ended. Few weeks in ancient or modern 
times have been more eventful, more prolific of History 
than those of April and May, 1865. 

When the first chapters of this book, which were very 
irregularly furnished, were written, the Rebellion still 
looked extremely formidable, and caused very grave 
doubts whether it might not survive the year, and linger 
on until the returning spring ; whether thousands of lives 


luiglit not l3e required for sacrifice upon the altar of the 
Republic before the colossal insurrection was completely 
Thanks to Fortune, those days of darkness and anxiety 
and doubt have gone forever. The dawn has come at last. 
After tliat long and fearful night, shaken with tempest, 
and pregnant with terror, watched with throbbing hearts 
and suspended breath by every loyal American, the sun 
of Freedom has re-arisen, and its glory is streaming over 
a regenerated Land. 

Within a few weeks, Richmond, the key- stone of the 
arch of the bastard " Confederacy," has crumbled; Lee, 
the head and front of traitorous opposition, has surren- 
dered, and Johnston, and Taylor, and others of less im- 
portance, have imitated his example through force of 

Amid all the radiance of victory there was a sudden 
eclipse. In the highest hour of rejoicing a chill was 
struck to every gladdened heart. 

The Chief of the Nation, the great and good man who 
had steadily and conscientiously, and skillfully guided 
the Country through the terrible trial of battle, fell a mar- 
tyr to Freedom by the hand of an assassin, a desperate, 
but wretched tool in the hands of his masters in treason 
and in crime. He fell, but not an hour too soon for his 
glory : his cup of honor was full : his immortality was 
determined ; and if it had not been, the explosion of the 
murderous pistol would have rendered it secure. 

"While the Republic still weeps, the death of the assas- 
sin, and the capture of the arch traitor (Jefferson Davis), 
are announced. There seems a destiny in all the closing 


scenes of tlie grand drama wliich for four tlirilling years 
lias kept possession of the American stage, and lield all 
civilized N'ations in painful suspense. 

It appears as if no relic of the Rebellion were fated to 
escape ; as if no part of tlie vast crime against Nature and 
Liberty were to be left unanswered for ; as if all the vile 
falsehoods of the enemy Avere to be exposed beyond 
capacity to doubt, and his braggart insolence and ridicu- 
lous swagger forever humbled in the dust. 

What a bitter mortification it must be to the Southern- 
ers who for fifty years have filled the air with their 
vaporings, and disgusted the World with their assump- 
tions ; who have arrogantly claimed superiority of race 
and civilization ; who have heaped all manner of abuse 
upon the Free States and their citizens ; to know and feel 
that they have been completely defeated, utterly subju- 
gated by the stout hands and brave hearts of the people 
they had affected to despise ! 

Where now is all that rant about the impossibility of 
conquering eight millions of free people born on horse- 
back, and destined to rule ? Where is the last ditch ? 
Where are all the men, women, and children who were to 
die 'so delightedly and so melo-dramatically before they 
would submit to the "Yankee" yoke? 

Tell me, gentle shepherd ; tell me where ! 

Yery glad ought we of the loyal North to be, that Ave 
are not Rebels ; that we are this day spared the galling 
consciousness that we owe our wretched lives to the mag- 
nanimity of the ISTation we have sought to destroy. I 
should think our foes would seek some remote corner of 
the world and hide themselves from the public gaze, and 


from private scorn ; that they would beg the earth to 
swallow, and the mountains to cover them. 

Never was so vast a "bubble as that of the pseudo Chiv- 
alry pricked before ; never was such pompous assump- 
tion so effectually extinguished ; never was such lofty 
arrogance so deeply humiliated. Give the Rebels their 
wish at this final hour — all but the prominent leaders — at 
least, and leave them alone. If they do not go and hang 
themselves — and they wont by any means — they are as 
devoid of sensibility and a sense of fitness as they are of 
chivalry and shame. , 

The end of the War has been obtained. Tlie Republic 
has fullfiUed its destiny. Slavery, the plague-spot upon 
the fair body of our Country, is dead, and no trumpet, 
though it were an angel' s, can awake it to resurrection. 

America for the first time is tvuly free. For the first 
time her people can sing her national songs without a 
blush; and the poorest of her sons can declare: "lam 
an American !" with, not uncovered head, but with mein 
erect, and a glow of purest satisfaction before the proudest 
potentates of the admiring world. 




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